Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fair Play: 2008 was a banner year

THE past year has been quite good to Cebu sports. The recent surge in boxing, the growing popularity of Cebu’s premier inter-collegiate league and Team Cebu City’s success, among others, made 2008 a banner year.

Here’s hoping for more in the Year of the Ox.

HOME AND AWAY FORMAT. The Cesafi regular season is still seven months away and first to kick off is the Partners Cup.

So for the Partners Cup, I hope the organizers will use the home-and-away format.

They can’t do this with football, but they can with basketball and volleyball. To save on expenses, each school can host a round of games and of course, it’s a given that the safety of the fans should be one of the top concerns of the host.

And should any untoward incident happen while a school hosts the meet, they could borrow from football’s practice in dealing with unruly fans. They force the unruly fans’ teams to host games minus a single fan.

Also, teams who top the elimination could get the homecourt edge; that way, they get rewarded for taking the No. 1 spot.
Anyway, that’s just a wish.

For Partners Cup football, having such an event is already a dream and my only wish is for match officials to be a little more watchful than usual. That excuse “we didn’t see it” just doesn’t hold water.

And while we are discussing football, let’s hope Cebu City finally gets to sweep both high school and elementary titles in the Palarong Pambansa, and that Team Cebu City (chess, dancesport, and football) have more national tournaments to play this year.

CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHTS. Gerry Peñalosa tops my wish list for a championship fight. Last year, Peñalosa made only one title defense since winning his WBO bantamweight title from Johnny Gonzales in 2007.

After beating Ratanachai Sor Vorapin in April, Peñalosa was supposed to be in another card in Lanao on Sept. 20, but after war broke out in the region, the fight was called off. I just hope, this year, Peñalosa finally gets to fight.

Also, I hope Z Gorres and AJ Banal get another crack at the title this year. I wanted to add Rey Bautista to the list, but
after his recent loss, Boom-Boom needs a few tune-up bouts to regain his confidence.

A championship belt would mean Gorres will no longer be just the Dream, but the Champion, while Banal’s Bazooka still has more than enough juice for another title crack.

INFIGHTING. It’s too much to ask that the various factions in the national sports association end their infighting, I just hope that since we will have the Southeast Asian Games, they could declare a ceasefire and pick up their fight after another dismal showing.

You know, I think Philippine sports will benefit if we adopt the “Holiday fist-fight” of Cuzco, Peru.

Guys there don’t believe in carrying grudges to another year and want to start a clean slate every Jan. 1. So what do they do? They hold a holiday fist-fight.

According to an Internet account, “(The festival) starts with dancing and religious processions on Christmas Day. But instead of exchanging gifts, participants trade blows. Young or old, male or female—anyone with an ax to grind—can step into the ring and throw a punch or two.”

Wouldn’t that be a hit? Instead of cooking up various schemes to thwart each other’s moves, guys like the Manny Pangilinan and Butch Pichay factions of basketball could just whup it up.

Oh, well.

SAC-CESS. And finally, 2008 was also a banner year for the Sportswriters Association of Cebu. Instead of meeting once a year for the SAC-SMC All Cebu Awards, sportswriters joined two basketball tournaments (and a couple of friendly games), took up golf, karting, arnis, mixed-martial arts, and organized a Christmas party and a rather “Special Party.”

Here’s to more of that this year.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you still have your fingers intact for the Year of the Ox.

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