Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fair Play: A salute to 2 pillars of Cebu sports: Ricky and Ed

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Dec. 27 edition)
IT’S the time of the year when we hand out gifts and thank the people who made an impact in our lives. And before you line up in the office and say you’ve been nice and ask, “where’s my gift?” better scour the newsstands for the Dec. 25 edition of the paper and find out if you’ve made the list of nice folks who deserve gifts.

Since I wear my football hat, first on the list of course is Ricky Dakay, the president of the Cebu Football Association. Sir Ricky is quite an interesting interviewee. Because of his position, he also sits in the PFF Board of Governors, he knows a lot and is a great source of information. But, he doesn’t want to talk about himself and what he has done.


“I’d rather stay in the background, Mike,” he told me more than once.

And it’s in the background he stays, and not just in Cebu football. He wears many hats—you should listen to him talk about guns—but it’s in Cebu football that his influence has been like that of Midas, because he’s unafraid to dig into his own pockets.

Take the Guinness Record attempt for the longest football match for example, if not for him, it wouldn’t have pushed through. Aside from marshaling the CFA assets and officials to help it--just imagine, one match commissioner and three officials for every four hours---he also lent his assets in his construction business to support it.

But for this year, it was his actions during one of the darkest moments in Cebu football that really stood out.

You remember it, you saw the picture of the father who stepped in. Some blamed the photographer and even the media for supposedly sensationalizing it, forgetting the fact that the picture spoke for itself.

Sir Ricky saw it a chance to educate, resulting to the rest of Philippine football getting impressed with the swift actions. Sanctions were issued days after the incident, highlighting the inaction of some associations which fail to act in similar incidents for months.

Football in Cebu is growing, and, the PFF has been touting the local FA as a model for years. Of course, it’s the work of many men and women, but thanks to the leadership (and deep pocket) of a guy who’d rather stay in the background and who wouldn’t even make a “My-lawyer-knows-a-lawyer-who- knows-the-drinking-buddy-of-the-nephew-of-the-paper’s-owner” call, the fans this year had their own dreams realized—to watch another Azkals home game in Malaysia vs. the Philippines in March.

Do you know how the first one happened in 2012? Over dinner, Dan Palami simply asked Ricky, “Can you host one?”

Ricky said yes, and made it happen.

MODEL SPORTS COMMISSION. Another selfless person who deserve a sleigh-full of gifts is one who’s making the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) a group to be envied.

Just like the CFA is being praised by the PFF, the CCSC is being touted as a model by the Philippine Sports Commission (Curiously, the PFF has no love lost for the PSC) because of its massive grassroots program that has resulted to poor kids getting into sports.

Enumerating all gains would be an exercise in futility and we also have one man to thank for, Edward Hayco.

Like Ricky, his influence is everywhere and prefers to let the results speak for themselves. I remember once, a columnist questioned he’s being called a sportsman, but today, his influence in Cebu sports is unrivaled.

It’s all because of the simple fact that he helps and believes that everyone else has the capacity to help, too. From the coach, the athlete, the teacher who lend their time, to the student-athlete who also teaches what he learned.

Cebu sports is lucky to have Ricky and Ed involved and in this time of giving thanks, let’s pluck the two from their preferred spots in the background to thank them.

May you continue to make Cebu sports interesting in 2015.

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