Patafa’s own goal

(This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s Jan. 7 edition)

A stable cellphone signal—thank you Smart, and here’s looking at you Globe and Dito—finally showed up in Moalboal on Jan. 4, 2022 and we finally got connected to the rest of the world. Before that, we were like hunters of the elusive Sasquatch, sharing stories on where and when we can catch a signal.

“Sa tulay sayo sa buntag, naa signal.”

“Sa diversion road.”

“Sa Panagsama pag kadlawon, maka download pa ka.”

So on the morning of Jan. 4, I went to Panagsama, which looked like a shell of its former glory post-Odette, in an attempt to get online. I tell you, in the past few days, residents here have learned the meaning behind the symbols at the top of the phone that shows signal strength. I finally connected and one of the first messages that got in was an invitation to a Patafa press con from Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy.

NO END IN SIGHT. The battle between EJ Obiena and the Patafa has taken a turn for the worst.

I decided to call him via Viber and got connected. I tell you, all eyes of the rest of the signal hunters were on me, when I said, “Good morning, Sir.”

But what Mr. Tiukinhoy told me had me hitting my head with my palm. It seems he got punished and was put in charge of a Patafa committee that was investigating the EJ Obiena issue. I told him, “Sir, Obiena has all the advantages since he has the sympathy of the public, government officials and even the PSC.”

We talked some more and he promised me to forward the committee’s findings.

After Smart reminded us how they are connecting lives by being the first to restore cellphone signal (I’d put a pitch for the others had they beaten Smart), I checked my social media page and saw for the screaming headlines based on the Patafa report.

Whatever Patafa does in response to the Obiena issue, people will call for their heads.

Facts? I think people are no longer interested in facts. Like any drama played publicly, everyone have made their choice and its overwhelmingly pro-Obiena.

What can Patafa do? Even the marshalling of current and former national team members is seen as a desperate move even if the support is genuine.

Politics, too, is a big factor, not only in the Philippine Olympic Committee, where politics is the number one sport but also the fact that in an election year, politicians will ride on this issue.

And they will ride Patafa and Juico out to ground.

What can Patafa do to save itself from its own goal? I really don’t know. I don’t think anyone can do much damage control, the issue has taken a life of its own.

Facts? I think people are no longer interested in facts. Like any drama played publicly, everyone have made their choice and its overwhelmingly pro-Obiena.

I just hope that the other national team members and coaches won’t be caught in the crossfire in this Obiena vs. Juico standoff.

Because it has become one.

Juico can save the association by resigning but I don’t think that card is even on his table. Patafa, even if it has the facts on its side based on its report, won’t win this one because everyone is banging the table loudly for Obiena.

How do you save your team from an own goal? You score one of course.

Now, will Patafa’s next play net a goal that counts for them? Or against them?

We’ll see.

Mike T. Limpag
Mike T. Limpag

Mike T. Limpag has covered the Cebu sports scene for over 20 years, starting as an 18-year-old cub reporter for the Freeman in 1997 before moving to SunStar Cebu in 2001.

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