Aug. 18, 2013
If the University Athletic Association of the Philippines is a national sports association, the Philippine Olympic Committee will have exercised the right to suspend the league from its membership for tolerating government intervention.
For this is exactly what happened earlier.
Something controversial and unsportsmanlike, I feel, took place today(Aug. 17, Saturday) in the start of the second round of the 76th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) junior basketball tournament.
The scenario started to unfold while I was still at home, waiting for the rain to go away.
I would have watched the game between the UPIS Junior Maroons and the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs had I not been stuck at home by a downpour which lasted for almost four hours.
While waiting, I ended up enjoying a re-run of an episode of “Be Careful With My Heart.”
In this episode, Maya has quit her job as the nanny of Ser Chief’s three children.
Ser Chief is trying to woo her back, and the family joins Maya as she spends New Year with her family. But Maya, who had a run-in with Ser Chief’s relative earlier, refuses a raise which she was offered.
She felt Ser Chief is belittling her abilities.
The two are quarelling and are keeping their feelings of affection to each other to themselves.
As the episode unraveled on TV, UPIS coach Allan Gregorio fielded in a controversial and ineligible cager, Jozhua General and allowed him to play for 21 minutes over at that Blue Eagle gym in Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City.
And it was a real-life drama which I wanted to see for myself.
– Temporary Restraining Order
Before the game started, commissioner Chito Loyzaga was informed the UAAP secretary-treasurer Malou Isip of season 76 host Adamson University that General should be given the green light to play.
The day before, Jozhua’s parents Jose and Mary Christine General obtained TRO issued dated August 16, 2013(Friday).
According to the order, which is now in the hands of UAAP legal counsel Rene Villa, for 20 days effective immediately, the league is ordered to refrain from implementing the disqualification of Jozhua MacDaniel P. General from playing for UPIS in UAAP Season 76.
The case is docketed under Civil Case No. R-QZN-13-05210 CV) at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 99, and under Judge Ma. Rita Bascos Sarabia. They were represented by counsels, Atty. Rico Domingo and Atty. Stanley Zambarano.
– UAAP officials speak their mind
The final game of the day between National University Bullpups and the La Salle-Zobel Junior Archers was about to begin when I finally arrived at the Ateneo Blue Eagle gym in Katipunan Ave., Quezon City.
The stats I got from the game told the story.
The Junior Maroons beat the UST Tiger Cubs, 73-71, with General dishing out two points and 10 rebounds.
After that, I head over to commissioner Chito Loyzaga to hear his side.
“This is beyond me, about him being allowed to play. They told that he will be allowed to play,” remarked Loyzaga.
Then, I turn to Ms. Isip, who says,” the court granted a TRO, and we let him play. We (the Board) will honor the TRO and will allow Joshua General to play in UPIS’s games covered by the 20-day period,”
Ms. Isip said the board will respect the TRO, and after speaking to someone on the phone.
So for the next 20 days, General will see action in four more games, and that will be in their matches against Far Eastern University, University of the East, La Salle-Zobel and Ateneo.
While this is happening, the UAAP Board will have on its agenda the TRO issue for its regular board meeting on August 22, and this is according to an official statement.
– Coach Allan Gregorio speaks
As I head on home, I was wondering if coach Allan Gregorio will answer my text messages.
As the game ended hours before with the Junior Maroons in celebration, I was listening to Ser Chief serenade Maya with the song,”Sorry, Puede Ba?” during a New Year’s eve party a few kilometers away.
Coach Allan eventually sends me a message on the game.
“We fought it out tooth and nail, vs a very hard working UST squad, and that gave us a good start in the second round…,” said coach Allan.
As for the General controversy, he hopes that the controversy stops and does not happen again.
-Why a TRO or a court case should not be tolerated by the UAAP board(in
I believe that Joshua General should not be playing anymore. There is something wrong about going to court over such an issue.
In my years of covering sports, sports leaders who have held posts in the Philippine Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee strengthened my belief in what true sportsmanship should be.
For year, they believe, and this is stated in the IOC charter, that any issues in sports should be resolved without relenting to pressure from government entities, politics, religion, and others.
For years, the POC has strived hard to discourage government intervention at its level. Cooperation, yes, but not intervention.
The lawyers of the General family ,Atty. Rico Domingo and Atty. Stanley Zambarano, ought to be aware of this. Commissioner Chito Loyzaga is aware of this,being a former official of the Philippine Sports Commission.
The present leaders of the POC have discouraged the NSAs, and the members of the NSAs (UAAP included) not to give in to this.
It seems that the TRO that they obtained has set a bad precedent in Philippine sports.
On a bigger perspective, a member country of the Olympic movement who allows government or courts to intervene in the running of their affairs are usually suspended from further participation in future competitions.
On the smaller perspective, which is that of the UAAP, I have to see what direction this will take.
I have yet to learn from the board what their take is on government intervention.
– Dedicating a song, Sorry , Puede Ba?(sung by Ser Chief as he serenaded Maya during they New Year’s Eve party)
As I contemplate on my thoughts on government intervention and the UAAP, this song is in the back of my mind. So, I dedicate the song, Sorry , Puede Ba? to coach Allan and, most probably the parents of those involved:
Di ko nais na magkalayo tayo
Nagseselos ka at nilayuan mo ako
Buhay nga naman, tunay bang ganyan
Bumalik ka naman
Kahit na ano pa ang iyong gusto
Okey lang basta’t magkabati tayo
Minamahal kita, hihintayin kita
Sorry na, puede ba
Buhay ko’y nasa ‘yo
Matitiis mo ba ako, oh baby
Huwag sanang magtampo
Sorry, puede ba
[Repeat Refrain and Chorus]
– Timeline to controversy
AN elementary violation of a long-standing rule on eligibility has prompted the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) board to declare as ineligible a player of the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) in Season 76.
The UAAP board stressed on the decision as it clarified anew that UPIS’s Jozhua General has consumed his eligibility with UPIS and the league.
Under “Other Requirements” of the Player’s Eligibility rule of the UAAP’s Rules and Regulations in its Articles of Incorporation and By Laws, “A [High School] athlete shall have a maximum of four playing years within five [High School] years reckoned from the academic year of elementary graduation.”
General graduated in elementary at 11 at the Naga Parochial School in Camarines Sur in 2008. He attended San Beda Taytay for his freshman year as a high schooler but dropped out in October of school year 2008-2009.
General enrolled the following school year at Lourdes School Mandaluyong not as a high school freshman but as a Grade Seven student and graduated a second time in elementary in 2010. He then enrolled at UPIS for his high school in 2010-2011 school year.
The UAAP, according to Season 76 secretary-treasurer Ma. Luisa Isip of Adamson University, starts counting a player’s eligibility from his first graduation as an elementary student—in General’s case from 2008 at the Naga Parochial School.
The UAAP board has sought its members from UP—Chancellor Caesar Saloma and Prof. Ronualdo Dizer—to initially inquire into the General issue after his eligibility was questioned despite the fact that the season has already started, and based its decision on their report.
General was responsible for forcing the fourth overtime in UPIS’s only victory—which was eventually forfeited—in the season, a four overtime 89-87 win over Adamson University last July 14.
. The Junior Maroons are 0-7 in the first round, losing 63-68 to La Salle-Zobel yesterday (Aug. 1)