Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The UAAP is dead (on protests and all the on & off court drama)

The UAAP is dead
by rick olivares

Can someone confirm a rumor I heard?

I heard that the UAAP is dead. Or is more like the Walking Dead?

You know the league that was the junior circuit born out of disputes from grand old league? The league that one point upstaged the PBA with its packed games, boisterous crowds, and chatroom chatter about new recruits.

In truth, apart from all the glitz and glam, those clever marketing lines from “ma-drama” to “unbreakable” the UAAP has long been decaying from the inside.

Let me backtrack a bit… who didn’t form an opinion about Manny Pacquiao “losing” to Tim Bradley? That was highway robbery, right? Yet that happens sporadically in boxing.

How about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics being given three chances at the buzzer to defeat the US Men’s Olympic Basketball Team in Munich 40 years ago? That has got to be one of the most infamous games ever. That FIBA and its head – William Jones – was involved in the replay of the final seconds of that game three times is a freaking joke.

That was bad, huh? Well, that kind of bad happens on a regular basis in the UAAP.

You all remember the 1991 finals when the championship was awarded to FEU after La Salle refused to replay the game that they had won? On what? Four inconsequential seconds of a player who had fouled out but stayed on the court?

There were the suspensions to Adamson (1994) and La Salle (2006). 

There are the rules such as the two-year residency rule for Fil-Ams to curb La Salle’s success. This was even more incredible a rule was formed to stymie a team! And that set a dangerous precedent because eventually there was the Soc Rivera Rule. The Maui Villanueva Rule. The Jai Reyes Rule.

In Season 71, the UAAP Press Corps voted rather unanimously for Rabeh Al-Hussaini to win the MVP Award. UST was incensed because they felt that Jervy Cruz had the better stats and should have been the recipient of the award (never mind if his team did not make the Final Four). Cruz was a very good player on a bad team while Al-Hussaini was a marginal player who suddenly became very good and he led the team to its best finish since 1987. The following year, the Press Corps was no longer allowed to vote and it was decided that the post-season awards would all be stats based.

Two years later, Paul Lee and Ken Acibar who played on a bad UE team (6-8) made the Mythical Five because they put up big stats.

Just last season, UE’s Cindy Resultay put up jaw dropping numbers but her Amazons team finished 1-13. Mercifully, the people making the post-season awards did not award her MVP honors. Really at 1-13? See the inanity of stats-based selection?

Several years ago, FEU forward Mac Baracael was shot. Up to today it has never been properly explained. You think the league would leave no stone unturned in trying to unearth the truth.

How many players have been removed from their teams over the last few years under suspicion of throwing games? If they really are throwing them, why aren’t they charged? And what protocols are there for this?

There was the Juniors Football Tournament where both Ateneo and FEU were tied at first after the elimination round with the former getting the twice-to-beat-advantage because of superior goal difference. The latter argued that the it should be a best of three and the board concurred! Imagine that. When I exposed that there was a precedent this time in seniors division of the 2008 tourney where both Ateneo and FEU were once more tied, it was the Tamaraws who were given the incentive because they led on goal difference. The championship was awarded to Ateneo as they had already won Game One.

The overturning of the decision of the current UAAP commissioner – who ruled against a replay of the controversial FEU-NU match – was terrible. Why get a commissioner – and one who is supposedly neutral – only to overturn his decision. Not once but twice?

Several years ago, FEU’s football coach and some players attacked a referee following a heated football match with UST. The football commissioner and the referees recommended the banning of the coach not just for the remainder of the season but also the next. The board, naturally overturned the decision.

And it’s the UAAP Board that comes up with these decisions? Do you want to even entrust your education to these people who have no moral compunctions about politicking, cheating, and having agendas against one another. Some educators these people are.

The games have come to the point where you have officials checking out uniform violations so they could file a protest. You have people coming the rulebook for gray areas and how they can be exploited.

Its come to a point where at the start of every season, I wonder what drama awaits. What hideous controversy will come to light. And what utter lunacy and stupidity the board will show to all.

Yes, there are bad calls. There are horrible ones. Just like players who deliberately miss shots or coaches who gave away games. We can argue all about bad calls until Kingdom come but it will not change a thing.

That Ateneo-UST game was horribly officiated. There were many bad calls and glaring non-calls. Unfortunately, the game went down to that – a correct call on a goaltending violation and a foul and a technical foul that wasn’t called. At the end of the day, it was about a judgment call. And like any one who doesn’t like the outcome, a protest can be filed. But when it is thrown out by the commissioner let’s leave it at that.

Besides, you UST got the calls and had the benefit of many non-calls. And you want a few more after the game is done?


I’d like to leave you with something you might have all forgotten. And you want your precedent well, here is your precedent.

In the final playing days of Season 73, UP filed a protest against the outcome of its second round match with NU after a referee made a judgment call on a lane violation and an alleged Emmanuel Mbe goaltending violation of an Alvin Padilla shot. The protest was disallowed.

This season, UP was once more the victim of an obvious goaltending violation by FEU’s Anthony Hargrove that robbed them of a win.

Why not replay that as well?

But you know, this league is a dead league. It is a league where every one is another’s enemy. Where rivalries have gone too far and the mantra has become "win at all costs."

I’m wearing black today because I am going to a wake. Because sportsmanship and the spirit of amateurism – is dead in the UAAP.


I was busy with work yesterday and wasn't able to find the time to write. The one thing I wanted to do was write an analysis on the Washington Redskins (and I am a New York Giants fan) because of all the excitement that RGIII brought. While at a UFL taping for FTW at GMA7, I was informed about the elevation of the protest by UST and well it really pissed me off. 

Replayed games.... I can remember only two (aside from the continuation of matches that were put to a stop) in the last several decades (pucha ang tanda ko na) -- 1984 UE vs UP where Ronnie Magsanoc hit a shot at the buzzer or a tad late after the buzzer to pip the Warriors. Joe Lipa instantly ordered his team to run to the locker room while UE fumed. In an age before television and instant replay, the UAAP Board in its infinite wisdom ordered a REPLAY! UE crushed UP in the replayed match. And then there was the Finals Game in 1991 between FEU and La Salle that should have never been awarded. As far as I am concerned La Salle are 1991 UAAP Champs. That was stolen from them. They earned that. 


  1. Ilan dito ang may kinalaman si "Anak ng tinola"?

  2. And Pido was asking for just 7.7 secs? How possible and practicable is that? Kaya parang sirang ulo. Maski sa Pba wala akong naalala na 'portion' lang ng game ang ni-replay.

  3. Why is there a rule that allows complaints to be raised to the technical committee? Eh may kanya-kanyang interest talaga iyung mga nakaupo doon.

  4. Hi Sir Rick,

    Just want to commend you for this well written article and the darkness that clouds the UAAP. At the same time, I would like to dare one journalist like yourself to step up to the plate and expose all of the negative shit that goes on and off the court. The sad part is, everyone knows there is a lot of dirt that goes on in the UAAP and no one has stood up to do so. Do the gambling lords run the show behind closed doors? The megabucks corporations? Are lives at stake if they do or dont throw a game?

    Someone please change the game and stand up for what sports really means. It is supposed to be a battle settled on the court, field, track or wherever played, and not through texts and paper bills.

  5. A lesson in history. Why do I get the feeling that the controversies and 'protests' and replays and whatnot are by design meant to cast aspersion to the validity and legitimacy of Season 75? Is it because one team is on the verge of a record/history quite apart from the other 'footnoted' one? Or are we gonna go the same way?

  6. I wonder how the UAAP can finally realize they are killing their own league with their own selfish interests.....I hope your article Rick will open some eyes.

  7. Quinito Henson, Philip Juico, The Green Mind and you all seem to be on the same page. While the UAAP is going to the doghouse, the NCAA seems to be peaking. The UAAP has become a league of exception more than rules.

  8. Hey Rick, thanks for this.

    Remember the time UST's football coach Carpio pointed out that the penalty box was inches too small just before we were supposed to play them in 2006?

    And he did it after everyone warmed up and was ready to play? Just so he could rest his injured players for a few more days.

    Never mind that we beat them 4-1 a few games later.

    For a tournament that's for students and schools, it's showing its lack of class.

  9. Oh I have an idea...if UST's protest about the goaltending is deemed valid, then deduct 2 points, but since Buenafe was fouled in the act of shooting, just call him to take one more foul throw....yeah...I grieve with you. The UAAP is dead...sad.

  10. This is the fault of dimwit TV game commentators. Instead of educating the viewers they add doubt and uncertainty to the games by not calling things as they should. Imagine one commentator explaining that flagrant fouls can be determined by the follow thru of the fingers! This happened in the Ateneo-Feu round 2 game. Hay! I really do hope that games are reviewed with the volume on mute. God help us.

  11. Maybe the best solution for this is to have a rematch and see who plays better than who and have new better officials or referees that'll officiate the game so as to avoid siding to a team.

  12. Sir Rick, I think it's all about consistency and the reinforcement of the legitimacy and the authority of the Commissioner. If you will notice, things have gone bonkers after that NU protest: there were more questionable calls and more protests for reconsideration. This event introduced a whole new way of thinking: kapag nadehado, iprotesta na agad.

    Plus, the accountability of the board, the commissioner, and the refs have also been forgotten. They need to remind themselves (or for the public to remind them) that their roles are crucial and they should not be marred by personal interests and the desire to just win for the sake of winning.

    And on another note, if we win (again, and again, and again... remember S74 when the guys in striped zebras seem to be against us?!) this season sans this ideal founded on justice, I think we're a better team than we think we are. OBF!

  13. Another reason why the board is not trustworthy

    If they can't be prudent and fair with something as mundane as this, how do you think it can be competent in deciding on esoteric matters like basketball technicalities to even usurp the Commissioner's job?

  14. Let's go back to the NCAA! San Beda awaits

  15. You're seeing things from the blue perspective. You're trying to subliminally say that UST has no class. The supposed-to-be technical foul on Coach Norman Black isn't judgment call. It's a technical call (hence, a technical foul). A coach can't just walk across the court, with hands in the air, after previously getting a warning. That's why Badolato's reason that it is a judgment call isn't acceptable as far as that issue is concerned. Those non-calls you are talking about are the judgment calls. Plus, you can't blame UST for trying to see if they can get something from their protest, especially if something fishy happened. It's the championship on the line! They invested way too much on this for them to let this go. Being on the first place almost guarantees you a finals appearance. Now, they're tied at number 2 and is still not out of the woods. They may still be eliminated from the final four, although highly improbable. Do you think Ateneo wouldn't file a protest had UST went home as victors? If you think they wouldn't, I would be the first to tell you that it is ridiculous! I think that once the commissioner rejects their protest, they too will bring it to the technical committee. I agree with you, though, that the call on the goaltending violation of Karim was correct. It's just sad that it was the referees who decided the game, not the players.

    Another point I would like to raise is that NU's protest is fair. You can't just say that the basket counted just because you think it did without any conclusive evidence (the replay wasn't conclusive because if it was, people wouldn't react). Badolato failed to do his task that's why the technical committee overturned his decision. Had he forced the game into overtime and let the players decide the game, then there would be no problem. What other people, like Ronnie Nathanielsz, want is for UAAP to become the Badolato League. You're giving too much power on one man. Way too much.

    1. That is you inferring about the "no class" statement. I am not saying that. Let's not generalize that. It is a referee's judgement on whether to call a technical foul or not. I agree that Norman should have been slapped with a T. But does this happen all the time? No. Every coach gets away with some protesting or some form. Some times they do not. As for UST taking the protest to a higher level that is their right but as I wrote this has been the case for many years now. Do you honestly think that the UAAP Board is capable of making a decision that will not smack of any agendas? As I illustrated through the years many decisions have been tainted by their rules and what not. And that's not all. I could have gone on with a litany of their erroneous decisions and more. And whoever said about giving Badolato too much power? Nevertheless, he is there and he is entrusted to make decisions. Let me tell you something, during the 2007 UAAP Finals, UE filed a formal protest about the officiating in one of the games. It was thrown out by the Board! The Board should not be making decisions about this.

  16. "Do you think Ateneo wouldn't file a protest had UST went(sic) home as victors?"

    Objection. Speculation. Are you a psychic?

  17. The host school and its students are cry babies. Even if they qualify in the Final 4, they will only get their asses kicked by the Eagles. Why protest when you know your doomed in the first place? Classy, NU.

  18. Ateneo and La Salle should get out from this league of freeloaders and form a new league instead. UAAP is Ateneo-La Salle. The rest are just wannabes.

  19. Hi, I just find this line quite offensive:

    "Besides, you UST got the calls and had the benefit of many non-calls. And you want a few more after the game is done?


    Just wanted to let you know that most of the Thomasian community already accepted the loss and are, in fact, against the protest. It's management's decision to protest the game, whoever those management are. Please, don't generalize UST. I agree, it was a horribly officiated game. UST didn't even had the chance to go to the line for free throws in the first three quarters! And there are a lot of questionable calls, most of which are in favor of UST. I would like UST to win but not that way.

    UAAP, in my opinion, is not dead. It's just sick. A sick man can be cured, whereas a dead man can't. If proper reforms are implemented, it may be brought back to what it was like during it's glory days. Just my two cents.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. To paraphrase, Coach Pido, "I do not dislike or hate UST." In fact, I enjoy watching your basketball, football, and volleyball teams. As for not going to the line, that's because your team takes a huge amount of shots from the outside. That is a common alibi used by coaches when they do not get to the foul line. Play inside and there is a bigger chance of going to the stripe. Even La Salle's Jeron Teng understands this. As for the league being dead, that is a metaphor. But as I said, these inane board decisions have been going on for quite a while. I remember talking with some board members after I took a shot at them several years ago, he said, "Masakit pero totoo." Now why aren't there changes? They do try to be fair. But they should divest themselves of making decisions in the field of play. Again thanks for your comments. Mabuhay ka and good luck to your team and the league. Peace.

  20. I have had the chance to have dinner with some NCAA players from a specific team before.

    What actually happens is they play with the spread. The gambling spread is what they try to control and not the outcome of the game.

    This not only happens in the UAAP/NCAA but also in the PBA.

    Remember that CSB player who was getting bets with the spread in his control? He neeeded to do that because he was already addicted to gambling in the casino.

  21. Hello there! I've always been curious about this Soc Rivera Rule. What's it about?