CEBU CITY — The beleaguered basketball program of Southwestern University got another blackeye after its high school head coach and five of his players were banned for life from the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) for falsification of documents.
Head coach Rey Lubguban and players Elber dela Cerna Catinggan, Reynaldo Obarco Jr., Mark Anthony Quilab, Andy Jones Turno and Edwin Abo-abo were all hit with lifetime bans, forcing the school to shelve plans of making a comeback in the juniors division.
“We simply don’t have enough players to field a squad,” said SWU’s athletic director Ryan Aznar.
Aznar himself was beside himself with the situation as he, too, felt misled.
"The documents they submitted looked really legit. I didn't bother to double-check because they appeared to be NSO documents," he said.
The stunning development came less than two weeks after five members of SWU Cobras' senior squad were ruled ineligible for the coming Cesafi season due to academic woes.
According to the league’s longtime commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy, a letter which contained the findings of their investigation has already been sent to SWU-Phinma chairman Chito Salazar.
The original penalty was supposed to be a five-game suspension for the erring individuals but according to Tiukinhoy, the members of the league’s Board of Trustees were so furious at the erring individuals that they decided to implement the harshest sanction in the book.
On Monday, Tiukinhoy along with his deputy commissioners conducted the investigation on the documents that the school submitted for screening. The inconsistencies in the records were eventually confirmed after the players admitted that they were indeed tampered with.
Tiukinhoy hinted that more players might be given the same punishment after they’re finished with the investigations.
This is only the second time in league history that the gravest of punishments was given. Interestingly, the first time also involved SWU after former star Eliud Poligrates was found guilty of “gross dishonesty" after the latter lied about his participation in another tournament while the Cesafi competition was ongoing back in 2009.
SWU’s officials were set to release their official statement in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.