University Mall, Taft
September 9, 2013
I love this year’s UAAP Season 76 theme: Greatness never ends. Isn’t it lovely? Indeed, it is. Flash forward to the present and we have two Temporary Restraining Orders, protests and suspensions galore, a commissioner who uses video replays like a CCTV trying to catch a shoplifter, infighting, flagrant fouls and more.
Add the recent news that Ateneo is facing forfeiture because Eagles coach Bo Perasol attended their game against the University of the East Warriors at the MOA Arena over the weekend when he should have not. You see, there is this existing league rule that a suspended coach or any member of the team staff is not allowed to be in the venue. Perasol was suspended for fighting a heckler, who in turn was banned for the rest of the season for heckling Perasol. Interestingly, La Salle appealed the punishment by the league in defense of the heckler, who in this case is La Salle alumnus JJ Atayde. But that’s another story.
According to the story written by Reuben Terrado, or Big Ben to his fellow sportswriters, for spin.ph recently, UE, which has asked the UAAP board to look into the Perasol issue, had a “photo evidence that Perasol was at the arena and was even seen singing Ateneo’s alma mater song at the end of the game” and, according to the online media’s source, “another photo, supposedly in the possession of UE, showed league deputy commissioner Ato Badolato telling Perasol to leave the venue during the game.”
We all know that Ateneo edged UE, 77-72, to boost its Final Four stock while eliminating the latter from it. But with the recent development, and if Perasol was really in the venue, that precious victory will be forfeited, which will send Ateneo from a share of fourth with University of Santo Tomas down to fifth. UE, for its part, will get the win that will practically send UE back from the dead. Like Lazarus. Only, UE’s life-giver is the board.
Of course, the board will deliberate and decide on it probably on Thursday or perhaps right before Ateneo plays National U on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. Be as it may, the fate of Ateneo will be in the league’s hand.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: I never liked boardroom decisions deciding a basketball game. Like in the one that happened a few years back in the other league, the NCAA, where San Beda lost a blowout game to St. Benilde after the board decided to forfeit it when one of its players wore a wrong uniform. Hello Samuel Ekwe. And there’s a strong chance that what happened to San Beda could occur to Ateneo. On this one, the Blazers here will be the Warriors. It’s ugly and ghastly. Rules are rules though. Dura lex, sed lex or “the law is harsh, but it is the law.” What scares me most is what will happen if the board decides to forfeit the Ateneo win. Best case scenario: Ateneo appealing it diplomatically inside the boardroom and eventually respecting it. Worst case scenario: Ateneo resorting to the court of last appeal—the legal court. I will not even think of Ateneo, disgusted with what’s happening, pulls out of the UAAP.
If that happens, then greatness ends.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of spin.ph and Filoil Flying V)