UNIVERSITY of the Visayas head coach Gary Cortes balked at the insinuations of Lyceum’s mentor Topex Robinson that his Green Lancers were out to intentionally hurt the latter’s Pirates during their Elite Eight match in the 2017 Philippine Collegiate Champions League on Friday.
Shortly after getting wind of Robinson’s comments, Cortes quickly fired back that the Pirates might have felt uncomfortable with their physical brand of defense – a staple in Cebu’s leagues.
“I didn’t see any physicality during that game. It just felt like they didn’t want to be touched. Whatever physical contact that happened during that game was nothing compared to what we play like on a regular basis back in Cebu,” said Cortes, the man behind UV’s back-to-back titles in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI).
Cortes surmised that the difference in style of play and officiating between Manila and down south might have played a role in their loss to Lyceum.
“We weren’t able to adjust to the way the game was being officiated. I pointed out to the referees that ang nipis ng mga tawag nila,” he continued.
UV is the most successful team in Cesafi’s history with 12 championships in the last 17 seasons. Since Cortes took over the coaching reins a few years ago, the Green Lancers have taken after their coach’s identity. Known to be a rugged player during his playing years with UV, Cortes has molded his squad to be rough and tough, but never dirty.
“Whatever physical contact they felt was excessive was merely born out of my players’ efforts to try and win the game, and nothing more.”
Sheldon Gahi, the stocky guard who bore the brunt of Robinson’s ire late in the game, said he too was surprised by the latter’s reaction and accusations.
“He got angry because his player told him that I was getting physical raw. Eh wala lang yun, especially yung sa last play when me and (Kim) Cinco bumped. It was really accidental,” shared Gahi.
The affable Cortes then went on to kid that if there’s a chance that the Green Lancers and Pirates meet up later in the tournament, he might have to show what “physical” really is.
But with a hearty laugh, Cortes waved off the thought and jokingly said, “Huwag na lang. Baka maraming di makatapos ng laro.”