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HOOLIGANISM PLAGUES NCAA AGAIN


PhilBoxing.com





There was a time when the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA was the better, more popular school based basketball league in the country.

That was when both Ateneo and La Salle were still part of the league competing against age old cut-throat rivals and traditional powers as Letran and San Beda.

On the other end, the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines or UAAP had to content as being "the other league" with teams like UE, UST and FEU running their own collegiate rivalries. Not even when the likes of Robert Jaworski and later the batch of Johnny Revilla, Haba Haba Abbarientos, Rudy Kutch and Rudy Soriano of UE were battling against the likes of Danilo Florencio and later Lawrence Mumar and Wiiliam Bogs Adornado of UST and Valeriano Botchok de Los Santos of FEU could have vaulted the UAAP above the NC.

NCAA had just much more talent and glamour with teams like Mapua and JRU, then JRC, churning out the likes of Atoy Co, Sixto Agbay, the Cezar brothers, Philip and David, among others mixing it up against the likes of Benjie Cleofas and Marte Samson of Ateneo and the famous Loyzaga brothers of San Beda and Lim Eng Beng of La Salle.

The billing still stood until the late 70s, early 80s when the school rivalries in the NC took another dimension for the worst when action on both the court and off court went dangerously out of hand: partisan students going up against each other, even reportedly wantonly wrecking parked cars owned by rival school fans and students and even public properties. Heckling turned to pelting and raining coins and empty bottles on the court during heated games prompting authorities to put up chicken wires across the stands to prevent this.

The situation became even worse when oncourt melee became almost a regular fare prompting Ateneo and later La Salle, both devout Catholic institutions, deciding they could brook it no more, opting to go on a leave of absence and later bolting the league and joining UAAP.

With the two schools on UAAP fold, soon we see a reversal of fortunes and roles for the two leagues with the UAAP steadily outstripping its rival league in terms of prestige, glamour and following. This despite NC continuously churning the prodigious likes of Samboy Lim, Paul Alvarez, Vergel Meneses and Alvin Patrimonio.

That has continued to these days with the UAAP being regarded for its finesse smart brand of basketball and better talent scouting and recruiting resulting to better competition and fiercer rivalries among schools and NCAA known for its physical type of hard court play and the impetuous passion of their student fans, though now subdued and held under stricter leash by both the league and school authorities.

Apparently, the oncourt physicality was not as controlled or regulated as anticipated by the NCAA member schools and league officials.

This came to a head when melee broke out between players of JRU and College of Saint Benilde, a La Salle sister school that was highlighted by a JRU player, John Amores bursting out of his team bench and running on almost unrestrained punching amok. Where is the love, Amores which ironically stand for more love?

I hate to think of it but sanguine rivalry and physicality seem to be tolerated even secretly abetted by NCAA member schools with tacit acquiescence from the league itself as some sort of a trademark or branding for the NCAA vis a vis its perceived tamer rival league.

I have attended major and championship series in both leagues since the 1980s until old age caught up with me and of course the pandemic restrictions and could sense that there is more fire and passion in the NCAA talking of school partisanship as well as the players and teams mentality compared to those at UAAP than meets the eye.

I hope I am wrong.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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