Gikan sa chairman: A look back to my days in sports
(The Freeman) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

Upon the prodding and invitation of UC president and my good friend Atty. Gus Go, I attended the board meeting of Cebu Schools Athletics Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) at Marco Polo Hotel last Wednesday, February 6, where I had observed the humbleness of CIT-U president Bernard Nicolas Villamor. I also talked with USJ-R president Fr. Christopher Maspara, OAR, and discussed the possibility of a tie-up with our UV College of Law. On the same occasion I also met Dr. Dino Diez of Velez College, son of a good friend, the late Atty. Teodoro Diez.

USPF president Atty. Paulino Yabao was also present. Yabao and his wife Dioscora were the Hermano and Hermana Mayores in this year’s 453rd fiesta celebration in honor of Señor Santo Niño. Of course, Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, of USC was also in attendance.

Then, on the spur of the moment, it occurred to me that I and Atty. Gus were the only ones left among our contemporaries. I whispered my realization to Atty. Gus, and he smiled. Overall, it was a delightful experience for me to be among the current school heads, albeit we missed the presence of another good friend, Greg Escario. I closed my eyes for a while, trying to remember the colorful years I had with the highly respected league that molded the talents of aspiring student-athletes on various sporting disciplines.

During the proceedings of the meeting, I just kept silent and observed the proceedings, quietly hoping that someday the league might also adopt different unique events such as eskrima/arnis and billiards – sports that do not require a certain height and where we Cebuanos have a great chance of excelling in even on the international arena.

Back to where I started, being there with the CESAFI Board really brought back a lot of memories when I was actively involved with Cebu’s collegiate athletic activities.

My active involvement in Cebu sports in general started in 1971, when I was elected president of the Cebu Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), the precursor of what is now known to the younger generation as the CESAFI. As the head of CCAA, I vigorously pushed for the unity of the once divisive Cebu basketball scene, because I firmly believed that the growth of Cebu basketball depended on it.

When the CCAA became CAAA (Cebu Amateur Athletic Association), I took the reins of the league again in 1989, and then in 1999, shortly after which the league was renamed to CESAFI.

In 2005, I became the fifth president of CESAFI. It was at this time when we set a trend by introducing the home-and-away format for the first time in Cebu collegiate basketball. Aside from bringing the league closer to fans, the home-and-away format coupled with at least four out-of-town games within Metro Cebu also brought an unprecedented financial revenue to the league, if my memory serves me right. Perhaps Danny Duran, my commissioner at that time, could attest to this.

In retrospect, it was truly a distinct honor and privilege for me to have served and been part of the growth of Cebu’s premiere inter-school athletic league, interestingly on three different eras from the CCAA to CAAA, and now the CESAFI.

It is my great joy to see that the fire of the love for sports continues to burn in the present generation. The old generation is only so proud to see that the cause they had started in the past is picked up and carried on by the young ones with observably the same fervor and dedication.


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