‘Bahala na si’ Batman

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ROMY P. MARIÑAS

It is arrogant of Philippine sports authorities to think that even if it submitted past the deadline its line-up for the country’s basketball team to the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in August this year, host Kuala Lumpur would still keep the door open for the biennial event’s defending champion.

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Maybe it would but, if it plays by the rules, Malaysia disqualifying the Philippine quintet from the Games will be justified.

The cut-off set by the Malaysian SEAG Organizing Committee (Masoc) reportedly was June 15 but, according to a senior official of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the Philippines would only be able too meet the deadline on June 27.

Bernie Atienza, SBP assistant executive director, cited scheduled matches abroad that members of the Gilas Pilipinas—which would compose the 12-man roster—had committed to play, apparently explaining why the SBP had no choice but to keep the Masoc waiting.

Cynthia Carrion, chef de mission, said she had told Atienza not to be “too late” because the Malaysian organizers may find a reason to disqualify the Philippines from the basketball competition.

In asking for an extension of the deadline to June 20, or a week less than what the SBP can meet, she just showed that the sport’s honchos cannot even agree on an extended deadline.

But, according to the Philippines’ SEAG Task Force chief Tom Carrasco, the cut-off set by Masoc is June 30, when all the 11 countries taking part in basketball will have submitted their line-up.

Again, officials cannot even agree on the exact original deadline.

Bahala na si Batman.

But not to worry, three other National Sports Associations or NSAs, according to a report, had also failed to submit their respective rosters—swimming, sailing and water skiing.

Another report, however, said that apart from basketball, water polo also failed to meet the deadline.

The basketball and the water polo NSAs maybe pushing their luck.

Basketball is presumably the domain of the Philippines, at least in the SEAG, where its winning record since joining the lowly rated regional championship has only been stopped in 1989 by… Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is supposedly a contender for the water polo gold two months from now in the Malaysian capital.

The 29th SEAG host only has to enforce the rules on deadlines for submission of entries and the basketball crown, this early, is already in Malaysia’s bag.

No foul play there.

Carrion reportedly said she sees as many as 50 gold medals for the Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

Perhaps, but only if the country’s basketball, and water polo, teams are not disqualified for the arrogance or the ineptitude of their NSAs.

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