I saw Ryan Aznar at the Ayala Center last Sunday. The sports manager of Southwestern University (and a commissioner of the Cebu City Sports Commission), Ryan was angry. Last week, his SWU men’s basketball team stunned the nine-time champions, UV, in an upset. It was the CESAFI collegiate semi-finals. As the schedule showed, SWU’s next game was against the loser of UC vs. USC—which turned out to be USC. And so, sporting a confident 1-0 record, they prepared—mentally and tactically—against USC. They aimed to go 2-0 in the round robin semi-finals. But, no—the day before their bout, they were informed (not through a formal letter—but via a text message from, of all people, the USC coach) that the schedule was changed. Instead, they’ll be playing UC. What! Ryan cried foul. “The schedules were finalized in September,” he told me, “and they tell us the day before that there’s a schedule change? This is unfair!”
It is. Why was the schedule changed? Was it to accommodate the giants named UV and UC, so the two won’t have to meet early? At poor SWU’s expense? If true, this is unjust. And I believed the CESAFI was managed professionally, not like a “liga-liga” where rules, midway, can be altered?
Felix Tiukinhoy has some explaining to do. This issue is at the heart of sports—and why we play sports. It’s called fair play. It’s called “not playing favorites.” I hope Cebu’s David Stern, as I called Boy Tiukinhoy, writes to explain his side.