Ryusei Koga and San Beda's possible Season 89 downfall
Pio Garcia, Unblogged Sports Blogger (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2013 - 11:24am

When news broke out that San Beda guard Ryusei Koga was found playing and mugging poor people on the hard court in a supposedly “commercial” league at the Olivares Gym of Paranaque, that people, most specifically rival schools, were out for blood. Well, in a way, we can comically say this is their means to stop a rampaging champion from claiming another banner to hang on their rafters.

I would have stopped myself from commenting on this. Well, I did say I was adamant to put my words about it until I see the actual evidence. Because reading from tweets and our dear friend “Cristy Fermin” keeps on wanting to drop bombs (and rumors about basketball), one thing was common: “DAW.” Maybe two years ago I would have bitten the bullet and given my two cents about it. But reading and hearing “may evidence DAW” made me think twice. Hard. But hey, luck was on my side this time around, or opportunity, or whatever you call it, being at the right place and at the right time.

I got to see the video in question from a source that requested anonymity based on the fact that the NCAA Board hasn’t come up with the decision yet. So we’re pulling back from calling them Fools or Clowns or Bozos for that matter.

But back to the video, or as I want to call it now, the “Headache from Paranaque”. At best, it is of grainy quality and the action was fast-paced and all that jazz that it is hard to say that Ryusei Koga was ballin’ ala Uncle Drew out there. By that I mean facial features, physical appearance and all that. Even if you try to zoom in on the guy being tagged as Koga, who was wearing his number 4, with a four-letter surname on the back of his sport tank tops.

Here’s the thing though. I have this unnecessary (or necessary) tendency of observing how a player moves with the ball or without the ball. It’s not something you are born with. It’s born out of my passion in trying to understand the game on a deeper level.  See, I’m not trying to accuse Koga; it’s just that, I’m having a hard time believing that it was not him back there. Given, the “Koga” was not running back on D like the Koga of San Beda. But how he brings that ball down, or a simple wave to call for it? It’s pointing towards my little notebook that has been dirtied with notes about various important players. Tendencies, habits, shooting form, ball reception, reaction to finding open spaces, all that basketball science stuff, you name it.

The “Koga” has the moves of the real Ryusei Koga down pat. Down to bricking those open looks even. This is a sort of inter-barangay, and the accused being a NCAA vet, he should at least be beastin’ out against these people who will probably still bomb the Lyceum Junior Pirates to kingdom come. But he isn’t. Or the clip isn’t the whole game. Still though. Reception, jump stop and trey brick after, my eyes and notes would not betray me. And with the way he dipped his shoulder trying to fight a baseline cross-screen and closing out chest-to-chest on the receiver? My alarm was ringing on the Koga page.

However, it is unfair of me to downright say Koga is on the wrong when we haven’t heard from him. But from what my brain tells me, there’s no way that isn’t him. All we need is a statement from the man himself. Because, as it stands, grainy video and all, no one could mistake the movements of a player, whether it be in a pick-up game or an official game, sir, so how do we doctor that?

San Beda should be thankful that there is a new rule in place and not the old one. The old one victimized Letran’s juniors squad back in the 90’s if memory serves me right. They were forced to give up the crown after forfeiting every victory since a player was found out to have played in a “ligang labas.” San Beda? They’d only have to shave off four wins if proven guilty. That’ll bring them to a tie with EAC which will set up a playoff for the right to face Letran who will be pushed to the top of the standings.

There can be two ways about it if that happens: it would make the Big Red Machine so mad that they’ll bomb whoever they face and wipe ‘em off the map. Or it could greatly demoralize them that they lose the will to even put up a fight.

As for Koga, I’m pretty sure you were briefed about this rule. Or practice. Or whatever. So why be a bonehead and still play? I mean, yes there’s the itch, but why submarine your team in the process? That’s where it hurts man. And you’re not only earning the ire of your team, but of the community that has embraced you. Think about that.

Suffice to say, #HindiPaTaposAngNCAA. At nakakairita na yung hashtag.

Man up, come clean, and let’s play ball!

Send your letters of complaint, protest and clarifications to @PioVGarcia.

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