The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list reminded athletes and coaching staff of schools competing in collegiate sports to always uphold humility and sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of a game.
“The UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) games are held in the spirit of friendly competition with the aim of fostering teamwork and camaraderie,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.
“Motivate your players to perform better by inspiring them, not by playing mind games on them.”
“There is absolutely no room for violent behavior nor should violence be incited by anyone,” she stressed.
Nograles issued the statement in the wake of the suspension of University of the East (UE) men’s basketball coach Jack Santiago for “conduct unbecoming of a head coach” after he was heard instructing his players to “deliberately harm” University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroon’s Ricci Rivero in the second quarter of their Season 84 match-up last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“It is disappointing that a head coach behaved in a very unsportsmanlike manner. To say that his conduct is unbecoming of his position is an understatement,” Nograles said.
“Our coaches should be role models to their athletes. They should behave impeccably as their actions will be emulated by their wards, who at their age have very impressionable minds,” the Davaoeña lawyer added.
A three-game suspension was initially issued by UAAP officials on Santiago but was reduced to two games following the latter’s appeal to the UAAP Commissioner’s office.
UAAP basketball commissioner Tonichi Pujante said a thorough review of CCTV footage plus an eyewitness account revealed Santiago telling his players to inflict harm on Rivero.
“There is absolutely no room for violent behavior nor should violence be incited by anyone.”
Santiago has disputed that he instructed his players to harm Rivero, saying his way of speaking on the bench was a motivational tactic to improve his team’s performance.
Nograles, for her part, said the language the coaches use should always be unambiguous and should never goad the players to commit unsportsmanlike conduct.
“Motivate your players to perform better by inspiring them, not by playing mind games on them,” she said.
The league also suspended one of the three referees who officiated the UE-UP match for his non-action despite witnessing Santiago’s command to his players.