GIVEN how Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy phrased his decision, I really expected University of the Visayas coach Alex Ballesteros would have his lifetime ban reduced on appeal. So I was more than surprised when I learned that his appeal was denied.
I asked the commissioner for confirmation. I was floored by his reply.
“Wala man sya ni-appeal. Igo raman sya ni present sa iya side,” he told me.
What the... something got lost in translation (or transmission to be exact) here. When Sir Felix said his decision was subject for appeal, it didn’t mean whether Ballesteros would be punished or not, that was a given. What was subject for appeal was his punishment, whether it would be a lifetime ban, a season-long ban, a four-game ban or what-not.
The moment Cesafi called what UV did a walkout, it no longer mattered if Alex could prove that it was Pastor Quiboloy the Earthquake Stopper himself who caused the walkout. That no longer mattered. He should have changed tact. Tiukinhoy saying that his decision could be appealed was for him to change tact.
Coach Alex can come up with a 100-page explanation but it will never erase two important facts: 1.) UV walked out and 2.) the punishment for a walkout in the Cesafi is a lifetime ban.
I thought, short of writing his letter of appeal myself, I pretty much laid the blueprint for Coach Alex’s appeal. But he took a different path and pretty much painted himself into a corner he couldn’t get out of. The commish even said he was discourteous to his secretary.
Come on! If you want to ask a favor from a guy, what sort of attitude must you have if you want that favor to be given? Because believe me, what Tiukinhoy did was a favor. If you want a precedent, look at Bo Perasol. His three-game ban in the UAAP was reduced to two after a personal apology. Perasol also blamed the refs initially but eventually, he admitted his mistake and expressed his regret over his actions. That’s why his appeal was granted.
That was the door Tiukinhoy left open. Something he didn’t give to the first batch of coaches who got a lifetime ban. Can the lifetime ban still be reduced? At this point, I don’ think the door has been totally closed but the ball is all on Alex’s court. He needs a change of mindset if he wants to get one.
And he’d better think fast because the incident has led to the Central Visayas Football Association and the Cesafi agreeing in principle that sanctions in the Cesafi will be extended in the CVFA events.
That can’t be done for now because the Cesafi is outside the CVFA’s purview but that will change. CVFA met with Tiukinhoy the other day and the two agreed to come up with a MOA and aside from the sanctions, the Cesafi will now respect CVFA’s plan of requiring coaches to have licenses before they can coach. As to what sort of license a Cesafi coach needs will be up to the CVFA.
The local FA and the Cesafi working together has been something the local community has been wanting to happen for years and I’m glad that’s finally happening.