Boy did I pick a game to miss. I missed Cebu Football Club’s 3-3 draw against United City FC and missed something that will surely be talked about this season or perhaps even until next depending on where CFC and UCFC finish in the standings.
I’m talking about the incident when Anthony Pinthus was down and CFC scored, leading into heated discussions, a foiled walkout (an assumption), a foiled fair play moment before CFC eventually let UCFC score in the spirit of fair play. Those whose social media algorithms are football-oriented have surely seen videos that highlight fair play, the most famous of course is Paolo di Canio catching a cross with his hands after seeing a keeper injured.
Does the Pinthus incident belong in the same category and should it have merited a similar response? That is Cebu should have refused to score? Nah, Canio saw the keeper go down and was visibly injured and stopped a cross, while Pinthus went down off-cam and was visibly uninjured post incident.
First, the whole sequence of play started with Pinthus quickly taking a free kick after an offside was called, starting a quick counterattack. Logic dictates that if he was really injured, he could have just stopped the play then and asked for treatment. Cebu stopped the counter and when the camera pans back to the UCFC side, there was Pinthus, on the ground, flailing like a child caught with his pants down.
Cebu scored, starting that whole drama.
The Cebu crowd doesn’t miss much and when the camera was on the Cebu side, I heard a bit of a murmur from the crowd, and I think that was the time when Pinthus—whatever prodded him—decided to sit at the top of the box and the crowd noticed. Was he really injured? Sure, he acted injured but he wasn’t visibly impaired when he got into a pushing and shoving incident minutes later.
When I first heard about the incident, I thought he did it to waste time. But it was 2-2 at that point. So why did he do it? What prodded him? Both visiting coaches in the post-match press cons have cited the crowd as a factor in their players’ behavior and I think the highly partisan crowd led Pinthus to do something he wouldn’t normally do. Kung sa Bisaya pa, nag-patagad ang karaho. (Let the visitors translate that.)
The boos Pinthus got and that off-hand remark caught on the telecast, “Injured man kaya sya” (Was that you Archt. Jhojo?) is enough basis for me. This is the same paying Cebu crowd that booed Global Cebu in its last home game when it was obvious it wasn’t playing to win against Ceres FC. The same Cebu crowd that had seen fair play conducted by intense high school rivals in heated finals numerous times.
Cebu eventually let UCFC score, and I think that’s a teachable moment for the fans. No matter the crazy antics of the other side, the spirit of fair play means you’d have to swallow your pride.
I hope Pinthus learns something from that to. He and only he knows what really happened why he ended up on the ground. If he wants to be remembered by home fans, let his actions between the posts do it for him, not his antics off it. (Remember how Global Cebu fans wildly cheered the Davao Aguilas keepers for all his saves in that 0-0 draw?”
Because for me, that was simply that. An antic that spoiled an otherwise great game between Cebu and UCFC. Which reminds me of what a goalkeeping coach told me years ago. “Goalkeepers have to be crazy to be effective.”
Cebu will return to action on Oct. 29 against Stephen Schrock’s ADT as the game against the Stallions on Oct. 22 has been moved.