A TOP official of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) defended the league's controversial decision not to hold a championship game and declare Thursday's semifinal winners as co-champions for this year's National Collegiate Championship (NCC).
After exhausting all means to hold the NCC title game following the postponement of Wednesday's semifinal matches due to typhoon Nona, PCCL chairman Rey Gamboa said the league had no other choice but to cut the tournament short and declare co-champions primarily because of the absence of an available venue to hold the championship match.
The PCCL drew flak following its decision that the winners of the semifinal matches of San Beda against Letran, and Far Eastern University against University of San Carlos on Thursday afternoon at The Arena in San Juan will be declared as co-champions.
Gamboa, however, said the all the possible venues they were looking at were fully-booked and the only available date for a championship game will be, at the earliest, on a Monday, which the league felt will be too close to Christmas.
“We’ve looked at all possible options and the only available venue and TV time would be by Monday or Tuesday,” Gamboa told Spin.ph.
Gamboa also said the league took into consideration the schedule of the players, most of whom are going home to the provinces during the holiday season, and a move to extend the tournament will be a great inconvenience to them.
“Definitely, that would drastically affect the holiday schedules of the players,” said Gamboa. “Most of them have booked their flights for those who are going to the provinces and considering that there would be many flights that will be cancelled and transportation will be overloaded, any other extension will affect their holiday schedules.”
“We’ve considered all these factors and we decided that for this year, let’s have co-champions,” Gamboa added.
Gamboa assured that the league’s objective of having a national champion remains.
“The objective of having one national champion is still there. However, we were [concerned] because of uncertain weather conditions. In fact, we weren’t even sure that we would have a game today (Thursday). And considering the safety of the students and also the convenience of the players, we decided that it may not be workable to extend the tournament by one more day,” said Gamboa.
The PCCL chairman also said the four teams are equally deserving to win the national title.
“If you are going to see the games, the four teams deserve to be a national champion. You have San Beda, who is the defending champion, against Letran, which is the NCAA champion. The winner there is fit to be called a national champion.
"The same is true with the second game wherein FEU, the UAAP champion, is going to meet the Cesafi champion of Cebu in USC. Again, the winner of that game is fit to be called the national champion. It’s just unfortunate that we could not have the game between the two winners. But that’s only for this year because of the unusual situation that we are facing,” said Gamboa.