Green wins big in collegiate basketball. The UAAP or, spelled in full, the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines has followed the script of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. or CESAFI.
Cebu and Manila are the same. At exactly 5:55 yesterday afternoon, the La Salle Green Archers defeated the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, 71-69.
This is significant for several reasons. It is the first time in six years that a non-blue-colored team won the UAAP. To be more specific, for five straight seasons (2008 – 2012), the Ateneo Blue Eagles won the UAAP collegiate basketball crown. This season, Ateneo — minus coach Norman Black and several top players — missed out on the Final Four playoffs.
In the 2013 UAAP Final, it was La Salle versus UST. Why do I say that UAAP can be likened to the script of CESAFI?
One, the championship series was decided on the very last game. With Cesafi, it was Game 5; last night at the MOA Arena — just two nights after the NBA’s Pacers and Rockets played — it was the UAAP Game 3 finals.
Two, La Salle lost the first game and came back to win their final games. Same with UV: trampled by SWU in the first two outings, they came back to win their final games.
Third, the color — my favorite: green. La Salle and UV both sport the same color while UST and SWU wear the gold shade.
TIUKINHOY. He just arrived from Cologne, Germany two days ago but, forgetting the jet lag, he still managed yesterday to send me some CESAFI highlights.
Felix “Boy” Tiukinhoy, Jr. is the CEO of Virginia Foods, Inc. He is the national head of the Phil. Association of Meat Processors, Inc. On top of that, he was named chairman of the Cebu Business Month next year — a daunting assignment. And, on these sports pages, we know his hot seat position. He’s the Commissioner of CESAFI — an unpaid, pressure-filled, many-people-are-against-you role that he’s assumed since the league started in 2001.
Tiukinhoy (right) with CDN sports editor Rick Gabuya
“SWU beat UV five times during the season (one game in the preliminary games, twice in the semifinals and twice in the finals of the best of 5 games),” Tiukinhoy said. “The 3rd (finals) game would have been the icing for SWU.”
Tiukinhoy estimates the crowd in Game 3 to be only about 1/4 full in the general admission. Fans expected a route against UV.
“I already bought a return trip Cebu to Manila for the 3 referees from Manila thinking that the series would end that night,” he admitted.
But UV won. In Game 4, he estimated the crowd to be only one-third capacity because the fans did not think UV could beat SWU twice in a row.
“Game 5 was a miracle for UV, their fans came in full force, and the general admission was in excess of capacity. I don’t want to get the championship away from UV but with the 24 shot clock that conked out, it was something eerie,” he said.
“A championship game with more than full capacity stadium and only a small blackboard for the scoreboard and a table official watch to monitor games such as 20 seconds to go, 15 seconds to go, 10 seconds to go, 5 seconds to go, etc. — only in the CESAFI finals!
“Kudos to this arrangement goes to coach Yayoy Alcoseba for making these suggestions just to continue the game for the sake of the fans.
“Even if SWU lost the championship, Coach Yayoy Alcoseba was my champion that evening. Congrats Yayoy.”
AYING CASE. On the controversial case, Tiukinhoy had this to say: “I pity Scott Aying at this early stage in his tender years; he has been taught by his parents not to follow rules and regulations and at the same time sanctioned by a Judge.
“You and I know that interference in a league of the rules and regulations from a court of law not from basketball or tennis court would create chaos to any tournament. I will just wait for the final resolution of this issue be it in the Court of Appeals or SC.”