Esports Sports

Cesafi Esports: Five players disqualified for joining other tournament

CEBU CITY, Philippines—- The Cebu Schools Athletics Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Esports League (CEL) disqualified four players from the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue (UCLM) Webmasters and one player from the Southwestern University (SWU) Phinma Cobras for allegedly competing in another Esports tournament.

This was officially announced by CEL tournament director Ryan Abarquez Balbuena on Sunday, October 22, 2023.  

The CEL said it officially disqualified UCLM’s Jofrey Igot, Rhamiz Mag-aso, Justin Frank Quieta, and Godwin Didal, who are members of the Mobile Legends Bang Bang inaugural champions, along with SWU-Phinma’s Robert Dave Maglasang, for the rest of the Cesafi Esports League season. 

READ MORE: Cesafi Esports: UCLM is on a roll

Why Esports players were disqualified

Balbuena revealed that they made the decision to disqualify these players after violating CEL and Cesafi’s general guidelines despite numerous warnings not to compete in the Visayas Esports League (VEL).

Still, the players allegedly pursued to play in the tournament, resulting to their disqualification from the CEL. 

“I’m saddened to inform the team that they have been disqualified from the tournament due to violations of the guidelines, despite being reminded of them multiple times,” said Balbuena in his statement posted on Facebook on Sunday.

“What saddens me the most is that the head of the organizing tournament was informed about the guidelines, which stipulated that the team could not participate in any tournament as long as the regular season was ongoing, with the exception of the preseason where they could participate in other tournaments. We even sent a screenshot of the said guidelines. However, he told the players, 

‘Duwa lang mo, we don’t need any confirmation sa CEL’ and ‘Don’t worry dili mo ma dq (disqualified) sa CEL.’ Furthermore, he declared that it would no longer be a tournament, but a scrimmage. How can it be called a scrimmage when, in reality, it’s part of the elimination phase of the tournament? You can verify the tournament bracketing results by visiting the website.”

READ MORE: Player profile: Shaun Matthew ‘Blurred’ Maglasang of USPF

This is the second incident in Cesafi a player was caught playing in another tournament while the Cesafi season was ongoing after one of University of Southern Philippines-Foundation (USP-F) Baby Panthers’ basketball player was suspended for the rest of the season earlier this month.

Ban or disqualify?

Balbuena said they’re only disqualifying these five players from the CEL for the rest of the season. 

However, the Cesafi officials have yet to make the final decision whether or not ban these players from the Cesafi Esports League, considering Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy commented on Balbuena’s Facebook statement, stating to provide the names of those involved to recommend them to ban from playing in Cesafi. 

“We fought for esports to be recognized within the different institutions and to receive the same treatment as other sports. Those who run esports organizations in schools can attest to how challenging it is. Perhaps next time, before labeling yourself as an esports enthusiast, you should respect the guidelines that other tournaments follow instead of spreading misinformation that it’s merely a scrimmage when, in fact, it’s a full-fledged tournament,” added Balbuena.  

Visayan Esports Appeal

Meanwhile, officers of the Visayas Esports League (VEL) will make an appeal on CEL’s decision to disqualify the involved Esports players. 

In their Facebook statement, they reached out to the Cesafi Esports League for clarification and reconsideration since they find it difficult for the league to ‘gatekeep’ these players. 

One of their main reasons why CEL players from Cesafi member schools must be allowed to compete outside the league is to gain experience, exposure, and earn monetary incentives. 

READ MORE: USJ-R Jaguars bags three wins in Week 2 of the Cesafi Esports League

They also claim that Esports is a complete opposite of Cesafi’s other physical sports such as basketball, which has very minimal risk to physical injury. 

“We felt it was our duty as managers to speak up because we are the ones who organize their practices, even at times spend our personal money for their food, housing, other needed expenses EVEN if we already know they gain NOTHING but only exposure with CEL,” according to the VEL officers’ Facebook statement.

TAGS: Cebu, Cesafi, eSports, gaming
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