Fair Play: Will Cebu Province Sports Commission work?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Feb. 7 edition)
CEBU Province, under Gov. Gwen Garcia, had the one of the best sports programs in the Unity Cup, thanks to the collaboration between the Cebu Volleyball Association, a private group, and the Capitol.

Cebu Province, under Gov. Hilario Davide III, has nothing yet. But perhaps the creation of the Cebu Province Sports Commission will change that.

Conceptualized by former Cebu City councilor and now board member Yayoy Alcoseba in 2013, the commission was finally formed just this year, with the oathtaking of its members last week. It’s led by chairman Michel Lhuillier, with Yayoy as assistant and I hope its first project won’t take as long as its formation.

I hope, too, Lhuillier’s stint as head of the Cebu Province Sports Commission chairman would be better than his stint as the chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission.

After Jonathan Guardo and then Mayor Tom Osmeña had a falling out, Guardo was sacked and he was replaced after a few months by Lhuillier.

Then, some thought it was an astute move as Lhuillier had deeper pockets and more experience handling sports than the guy he replaced.

But ultimately, it was a big dud and the momentum the CCSC had under Guardo went to an abrupt stop under Lhuillier. Why? To put it mildly, one insider said he was too busy with his enterprises to run the commission.

And that was just for Cebu City, what more for Cebu Province?

The commission is loaded with politicians but it’s good, too, that two members of the commission, Nimrod Quiñones and Jessica Honoridez, know how to work sans government support and the UC table tennis coach Honoridez has done her own grassroots work in the past, too.

For starters, I hope the Cebu Province Sports Commission will look at its Cebu City counterpart to see what works and what doesn’t.

So, what do I hope the CPSC can do in the short time before the next election? Well, its leaders are known for their basketball acumen and they could play to their strength by holding the basketball version of the Unity Cup, with all the LGUs as participants.

The experience in running a province-wide tournament will help in the long run, it would also help the commission identify the go-to guys in the different LGUs if it wants another event.

The GUV Cup was a success, there’s no harm in copying it, right? But it can go further by requiring the LGU to hold an elimination to determine its representative for the cluster meet, and then you can have the cluster champions meet each other in a grand final.

Basketball tournaments are a dime a dozen in this part of the country, but a basketball tournament patterned after the GUV Cup has never been done.

What good will a province-wide basketball tournament do? Well, again, let’s look at the GUV Cup, thanks to the tournament, a lot of volleyball players who would otherwise be left playing in fringe tournaments are now enjoying collegiate scholarships.

The creation of the Cebu Province sports commission is a great first step. But there are sports commissions all over the country who are commissions in name only, whether the new group would be successful or not would be determined by their next step.

And I think, Cebu Province is long overdue for a success in sports and I wish the group well. I hope, too, the LGUs will support their move.

Cebu Province needs them. Cebu Province needs the Cebu Province Sports Commission to succeed.


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