Cesafi commissioner urges Cebuano athletes to study, play at home
Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy is urging student athletes in Cebu to reconsider should they get any offer to leave Cesafi for a Manila school.
Over the years, the Cesafi has become a recruiting battleground of Manila schools in the UAAP and NCAA, with schools identifying players as early as their sophomore year in high school for recruitment for their college teams. Some college players, like Ben Mbala of Southwestern University (SWU) and Greg Slaughter of the University of the Visayas (UV), were subject of bidding wars from rival UAAP schools like Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University.
Tiukinhoy is hoping Cebuano athletes will choose to stay with Cesafi this time.
“There really is no need to go to Manila. If you want to excel, you can do so in Cebu,” said Tiukinhoy, who has been the commissioner of the league for 17 years.
Tiukinhoy said some, like Slaughter, did benefit from the move to transfer to Manila but not all. Some even suffered setbacks, not just in sports but academically. He pointed out some athletes find it hard adjusting to life away from the parents for the first time and suffer academically.
“Instead of graduating on time, malangay na nuon. Unsa man diay ang purpose sa pag sulod sports sa college? Di ba para makahuman?” he said. “Lahi man gyud kung muskwela ka ug muduwa ka nga naa paka sa imo ginikanan.” (Instead of graduating on time, it will take them longer. What’s the purpose of getting into sports in college? Isn’t it to finish school? It’s really different if you play and study while living with your parents.)
He also cited the country’s biggest names in sports — June Mar Fajardo and Mary Joy Tabal — as proof that Cebu athletes need not go to Manila to excel in their sport.
Fajardo, now one of the biggest names in Philippine basketball and a four-time MVP of the Philippine Basketball Association, was heavily recruited but decided to stick with the University of Cebu (UC), which discovered him.
Tabal, the first Filipino Olympian in women’s marathon, was punished for choosing to train in Cebu and was even dropped by the National Team before earning her way back. Tabal was a former sprinter of SWU.
Tiukinhoy also blasted the practice of some recruiters who go directly to the parents of the athletes without the school’s knowledge and sometimes, circumventing an athlete’s future.
“Ang makalagot gyud kanang nigraduate na atong player unya pag abot sa Manila, pabalikon high school para ma maximize ang playing years,” he said. “Para unsa? Unsa naman ang purpose ana? Skwela or dula? Mudiretso man gud sila sa parents, saad maski unsa. Ang luoy ang bata.” (What’s disappointing is when our player graduates but when he reaches Manila, they let him go back to high school to maximize playing years. For what? What’s the purpose of that? Study or play? The thing is, they go straight to the parents, promise whatever. Pitiful for the child.)
He also cited numerous cases of high school seniors going to Manila for a year and after having a hard time adjusting academically and in sports, they return to Cebu, wasting another year in school.
Tiukinhoy also said that most of the academic programs of the Cesafi member schools have been proven to be one of the best in the country, citing numerous topnotchers of bar and board exams coming from the Cesafi members. He added that one advantage of choosing a Cesafi member school is that they aren’t after trophies but after the welfare of the students.
“The Cesafi is not about going for championships. What the members are after is that students will be able to finish school.”
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