USPF enjoys useless first place

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Sept. 25 edition)
IT’S the semifinal round of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. football competition and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation is the No. 1 seed, a development that got me by surprise.

I thought the University of San Jose-Recoletos or the University of San Carlos would fight for the No. 1 spot, being last year’s finalists, but right now, the two-time defending champion Jaguars are at fourth place.

But thanks to an archaic competition that should have gone the way of the dodo, it might as well be USJ-R at first and USPF at fourth in this Cesafi football playoffs.

USPF is enjoying a useless no. 1 seed, a ranking that rewards nothing to the team that finishes with the most points in the elimination round.

Look, in Cesafi basketball, they’d give the higher seeds a twice-to-beat advantage as reward for finishing on top of the elimination round. No such luck in football.

I think, if they’d use the same set-up in basketball--to give all semifinalists regardless of rank--the same privilege in a knockout final four, the coaches would cry foul.

At this rate, a team can win all elimination round game and face a team that drew all of theirs, but come the semifinal round, that counts for nothing as the best team that wins during that day advances.

And one more thing, having a semifinal round for a six-team tournament doesn’t make sense at all.

The best format should have been a double-round robin and give the finals spot to the top two teams. That way, you make all the elimination round games count. Under the current format, coaches can afford to throw a game and two and it doesn’t matter, because the only thing that counts is making the final four.

Can they do that?

Yep they can and they tried to. But you know what happened? Coaches complained that double-round robin elimination is too long.

As one official told me, “Wala ko kasabot sa mga coaches. Single round robin, mureklamo kay gamay ra daw kaayo games. I-double round robin, mureklamo na sad kay daghan daw kaayo.”

Since the college football community, we have one team getting nothing for finishing first.

I hope next year, they’d change things. If not go the with the double round robin, and they’d want to stick with a semis in a six-team league, give the top finishers the edge. Nope, not a twice-to-beat edge, but how about you let the top two teams need only a draw to advance to the finals?

That should make things interesting.


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