Monday, July 21, 2014

Fair Play: Samsam Gullas' move is step in right direction

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 21 edition)
DURING their undefeated reign as nine-time Cesafi champions, there were some members of other varsity teams in UV that resented the privileges of the basketball kings, saying those players rarely attend classes.

Way skwela-skwela, pasar gyapun. Basta makadula ra’g basketball,payts na,” a member of UV’s football team, who won a Cesafi crown, told me.

A few months later, an interview the UV coach gave to a local scribe lend some truth to the statement. It was the Partners Cup tournament and thecoach lamented that he had trouble assembling his team as most of his players were still enjoying their semestral break vacation.

The problem was that interview happened mid-December, and classes already started for weeks. I thought, “What vacation is he talking about?”

Since their nine-year reign ended, the Green Lancers have had mixed results, enjoying success and losing a crown to archrivals SWU Cobras, too.

Now, it seems, the Green Lancers have started a change, one that is very admirable and speaks well for a school -based team.

It’s easy to build a champion team, you just get the best players available and team them up with the best import, but to build a team of champions?

Samsam Gullas has set three criteria for a player to become a member of UV’s basketball team—academic, performance and attitude.

And if the players ever doubted Samsam’s resolve in implementing it, there are no doubts now that the Lancers dropped former MVP Wowie Escosio for failing all three.

Academic. Performance. Attitude.

Finally, UV is showing that being a good basketball player is not enough, student-athletes have to be good students, too. Finally, a school owner gets it right.

Will this result to more basketball titles for UV? No, but that’s not what is important.

UV is an educational institution, not a professional basketball club. By putting a premium on a student-athlete’s education, Samsam is simply doing the right thing.

Like I said, it is easy to build a champion team, you just hire the best players available and let them play even if they haven’t seen the inside of the classroom or can’t tell any of their teachers.

And to be honest, that’s what other teams are doing.

Samsam’s three-step criteria is an admirable move and I hope UV adopts it for all their student-athletes, not just the basketball team.

Besides, there’s a reason why they are called student-athletes, not athlete-students.

Academic. Performance. Attitude.

This is a bold move by, but it sends the right message. It doesn’t matter if UV finds it hard to win a Cesafi title, just by passing Gullas’ criteria, UV athletes—to borrow the cliché—are already champions.

Besides, 10 years down the road, what is more important for a student-athlete? The moment he hit that winning basket? Or that moment he got the diploma?

Samsam got it right and this time, this a move by UV that I hope the other schools will follow.

HE SAID IT. “Time-management lang yan, disiplina sa sarili. Kaya natin i-handle yan,” champion boxer Manny Pacquiao on his new role as head coach of KIA in the PBA.

He said that on June 10.

On July 18, Pacquiao was a no-show in the PBA Dispersal Draft.

Go figure.

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