Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Fair Play Column: Spare the Kids


ALAS sais na is one of the most unique phrases of encouragement or slogans in local sports and is a signature call of Francis Ramirez and the Abellana National School (ANS) boys. 

“It means to hustle,” Ramirez once explained to me while I was still handling the football beat. 

At the Cebu City Sports Center, ANS is only allowed to practice until 6 p.m., before the bulk of the joggers take to the oval for their nightly exercise ritual. 

A bunch of boys, football, and joggers don’t mix, hence the 6 p.m. limit. 

Alais sais na means to give everything before the final whistle. 

And ANS players, like most of the top teams in Cebu, do give their all in the crucial stretch. 

However, for the rest of the year, ANS will have no need to hustle anymore after the team, and their coach, was ordered suspended by Mayor Tomas Osmeña for not asking permission from the Department of Education when they joined the Philippine Olympic Festival and for representing Cebu Province. 

Ramirez and the ANS principal has since admitted their mistake, though I think the coach was quite creative in explaining the oversight—he couldn’t have known on the eve of the event that he was to represent Cebu Province when the team already had Ciudad de Cebu as its sponsor—he did right by asking that the kids be spared from the suspension. 

Kids shouldn’t suffer for other people’s mistakes. 

Players play where the coach tells them to play, even more footballers. With the lack of tournaments, the question footballers ask is “why are we not playing in this tournament?” and not “why are we playing?” 

ANS will miss the Cebu City Olympics and with that, any dreams of Cebu—not just the city—winning the secondary title in the Palarong Pambansa is dented. 

Even if ANS won’t win the Cebu City OIympics title, some of the players are virtual shoo-ins as reinforcements for the champion. 

Unless a team is from Barotac, no reinforcement-free school has the chance to win the Palarong Pambansa title. But with ANS’ suspension, the pool of players the Cebu City champion team gets to choose just got a little bit shallower. 

The bigwigs at DepEd Cebu City, instead of showing up only in the opening ceremonies of sporting events to give their speeches—which nobody really listens to save for reporters—should show up in championship matches to see first hand what drives athletes like ANS to go that extra mile after a simple phrase like, “Alas sais na!” 

Ramirez’s suspension also puts the Cebu Football Association in an interesting position, not one any organization would envy. 

The suspension was only for DepEd-sanctioned meets, and since the Cebu City Olympics and the Milo Olympics, have never recognized its authority, CebuFA could not honor that suspension. 

Or it could show leniency by allowing the players, but not the coach, to play in their tournaments. 

But that means going against Mayor Tomas Osmeña. 

And that isn’t something a group of private individuals can take lightly. 


In case you are wondering what I am doing in these pages, I regret to inform you, that, I’d be here regularly from now on. (Feel free to embellish—or enhance if you will—the picture, my preferred add-ons are a pirate’s eye patch and a curling pencil moustache.) 

Thanks to Atty. Pachico A. Seares, the Editor-in-Chief of the paper, for allowing me to join noted columnists John Z. Pages, (he digs Maria Sharapova too) Jingo Quijano (a lawyer with a great right hook, deadly combination), Karlon N. Rama, Edgar Chiongbian, Boy Pestaño and Noel S. Villaflor (If he ever finds his way back to a PC and resume his column). 



ronaldo said...

Congrats Bai on your column.

ronaldo said...

Here is another hindrance to A fallout from the basketball "ruling body" war that will directly affect several football teams is the CESAFI rule that a player of a CESAFI member school CANNOT play in any other tournament while the CESAFI tournament is on-going. That may mean that players who will join football tournaments while the CESAFI football tournament is going on will not be eligible to play in the CESAFI.

If I got the explanation right, this ban started on the CESAFI opening day last month and affects ALL sporting events and not just basketball. Will this mean that those who played in the Milo Olympic football tournament cannot play anymore in the CESAFI high school tournament ?

There was no CESAFI high school tournament last year, a big failure on the part of the organizers and an even bigger disappointment for many graduating players. Now the organizers want to redeem themselves by banning players if they play in other tournaments ? Yeah, great move!!!

This rule was meant specifically for the basketball tournament as a direct result of several schedule conflicts last season. But for this rule to be applied to the other sporting events is ridiculously stupid. If a player joins in the upcoming Mizuno or Aboitiz tournaments, then he/she cannot play in the CESAFI.

Obviously, there was no effort on the part of CESAFI organizers to review this rule and deem it impractical for football. We already have a shortage of tournaments, and yet we resort to the application of clearly impractical rules that will lessen our chances to play more competitive games.

Depending on the decision of the different sports administrators of each school, college and U17 football teams and players from DBTC, USC, USJR, UV, USP, UC and CIT may have to forego playing in the Aboitiz if there will be an overlapping of the schedules. And since most of these players, specifically the college players, are dependent on the scholarships the school gives them, then they may not be able to play in the Aboitiz men's Open. I understand that several schools are planning to join the Aboitiz Mens Open as part of their player and team development programs. Don't you think it's absolutely stupid that the CESAFI member schools shall follow a rule that will prevent their football teams from developing ?

Hopefully, CebuFA can find a way to reschedule the tournaments if CESAFI organizers are adamant in implementing this dumb rule. These CESAFI member schools are, unfortunately, bound to follow this rule or else face a CESAFI sanction. If the CESAFI football tournament is sanctioned by CebuFA, I hope both can formulate a way out of this rule.

Mike Limpag said...

The Cesafi ban, if I recall correctly, will be strictly "implemented this year." But it covers only the college level, high school players have to play in other tournaments, Cebu City Olympics, Cviraa..etc.

As for College, it's bye-bye Mizuno, bye-bye Aboitiz, bye-bye Barangay football. Five SWU Cobras starters were banned for the rst of the year for violating the rule

ronaldo said...

I was told the CESAFI meeting yesterday said otherwise. High school players are said to be under the same rules as the college players. I do hope I was wrongly informed.

Mike Limpag said...

I think that's wrong. I think the reason why they can't ban high school players because CEsafi high school games is a dead-end street. After the City level, there's nowhere to go. Whereas, the City Olympics is a qualifier to the Cviraa, which is the ..

If you're informant was right, then we are in for some interesting days ahead..

ronaldo said...

Just received word from PFF officials that there will be a PFF-sanctioned National competition for either U16 or U17 (born 1993 or 1992 daw). There will supposedly be no more regional qualifying tournament and that 4 or 6 teams were "handpicked" to represent the Visayas. The tournament will be at San Carlos City on the end of October. I don't have a clue why this is held so close to the POF U17 tournament and if this is school or club based. Will confirm this once I see the memo that was supposedly sent out last week to the "invited" teams.

Regarding the CESAFI, it was the commissioner himself who said that the ground rules concerning "other tournaments" should be followed by both high school and college levels. Several school sports administrators will be questioning the implementation of the rule to the sporting events other than basketball. I talked to three representatives from other schools and they told me that this was what was relayed during the meeting. Again, I hope there is a way to iron this ruling out.