Friday, September 25, 2009

Far Eastern folly

Recently deposed FEU team captain Mark Barroca must be feeling a wee bit vindicated now that the Tamaraws have crashed out of the UAAP Final Four. After unceremoniously (and unfairly) kicking Barroca off the team under unfounded allegations of game-throwing, FEU got its karmic bite-on-the-ass when their twice-to-beat advantage went down the drain in the face of the fierce UE Red Warriors. I must say I derived some satisfaction from this outcome, not only because the sight of UE coach Lawrence "Balik-Ayos" Chongson crying like a baby was oddly moving, but also because my stand on game-throwing has always been: if you can't prove it, shove it. I feel particularly strongly about this when it comes to collegiate sports. School officials simply can't go around hurling accusations at student athletes, potentially ruining their future sports careers as well as besmirching their character. If they have the hard evidence, then by all means sanction the kid, expel him, throw the whole book at him. But if they can't back up their claims, it's both irresponsible and unethical to engage in finger-pointing and mudslinging.

Everyone was expecting Ateneo-FEU for the finals this year, but thanks to their gross mishandling of the Barroca issue, FEU's season just skidded to a sorry halt. Barroca was both a seasoned player and steady leader, and whatever anyone says about him I'm sure his absence from the lineup made a difference, if not in points then in team morale. And you'd think the university would have shown a bit more utang na loob to a guy who's devoted a significant chunk of his time and energy playing ball for his school. Instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt though, they threw him to the wolves. I'm not saying Mark Barroca is innocent; I'm saying he should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. FEU, on the other hand, has just been proven foolish.


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