With 131-pt. wreckage, CEC’s name is bruised

It was too unbelievable to be true. Far-fetched? Yes. Implausible? Yes. Beyond belief? Yes. It’s the story that was trumpeted two mornings ago by our top dailies with headlines that read: “131-PT ROUT” (Cebu Daily News), “UC Jrs. thrash CEC by 131 pts.” (The Freeman) and, from Sun.Star, “Horrible mismatch.”

Wrote Gabby Malagar of The Freeman: “The University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters made league history with their 131-point massacre of the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons, 159-28, in an unbelievable outcome of the 9th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI)…

“Scoring by quarters saw the Junior Webmasters leading by a mile – 65-5, 78-11, 115-19 and 159-28 – thereby raising questions of coach Rex Salvana’s logic of pushing CEC to join the tournament in which some quarters perceived as throwing a sheep into a pack of hungry lions.

“The Dragons, who just decided to play in the CESAFI four days ago, could expect more severe beatings in their future games as they still have to play strong opponents like UV,USJ-R, CIT, SHS-J, USPF,USC and DBTC.

“The Dragons were eyesores and could even hardly cross the midcourt. If they do, the pass will be intercepted. The were not also hitting shots even as the free throw line and all the negative sides of the game were at their side.”

Rommel Manlosa of Sun.Star Cebu reported: “The 131-point margin is now the most lopsided victory for a school-based league in Cebu in recent memory. UC’s win overshadowed the 150-40 win tallied by the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers, also over CEC, in September last year…

“CEC’s Rex Salvaña had an excuse to offer. ‘We just met four days ago and that time is not enough for us to get ready for this game,’ Salvaña said.”

Jonas Panerio of CDN added: “It was a match between David and Goliath all over again. Only this time, it was Goliath that came out on top as the Baby Webmasters, with their championship experience and bevy of talented youngsters, simply overwhelmed the neophyte Dragons.”

This is humiliating! Cebu Eastern College, a highly-reputable school, has been transformed into a laughingstock—both on printed paper and by the thousands who watched last Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum. An institution that has produced dozens of top ballplayers, including Chester Cokaliong, Zotico Tan and Earn Saguindel, to name three, CEC is highly active in local basketball (think CECABA).

This is an embarrassment! My simple query: Why did they join? Said the coach: We just met four days ago and that time is not enough for us to get ready for this game.

That is the most senseless answer I’ve heard. Unready and ill-prepared, then why join? Is it because of the motto, “It’s better to try and fail than to fail to try?” I love that slogan. It’s one of my favorites. But, sad to say, it doesn’t apply in this story. The more apt quotation?

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” CEC horridly failed.

(To those who argue that UC shouldn’t have been ruthless, this I have to say: Champions extinguish opponents! In one French Open final, Steffi Graf won 6-0, 6-0 in 32 minutes. That’s why champions are called champions.)

Back to CEC, didn’t these high school players lose to UV, 150-40, last September? Wasn’t that mortifying enough an experience? Wasn’t that enough to tell the coach, the athletic director, the principal, the parents… Hey, we’ve got to shape up first!!! If not, let’s join a smaller league!

But, no. Based on my research, CEC did not join less intimidating events like the Cebu Youth Basketball League (CYBL) or the Milo Best—they jumped straight into the “major league of tournaments,” the CESAFI.

Think about it: CEC did not lose by 33 or 55 or 77 points—but a whopping 131 points! The saddest thing? The nightmare’s not over: CEC has upcoming games against powerhouse squads UV, USJ-R, CIT, SHS-J, USPF, USC and DBTC.

In all this, I pity most the CEC players. I pity the school, whose good name was scarred. Can someone explain this? The CEC officials? And shouldn’t the coach be fired?

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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