The Southern Leyte State University Mighty Kingfishers Men’s Basketball team is set to have a series of three-championship matches against the Samar State University (SSU) Deers this coming November 11, 2023, for the Eastern Visayas Collegiate Athletic Association finals.
The SLSU Kingfishers and SSU Deers are undefeated during their whole EVCAA journey.
It can be remembered that the two teams had also emerged dominant during the Regional SCUAA games, both having been given gold medals, after the deliberation of the Sports Directors of the PASUC-8, which sparked controversy and talks amongst basketball enthusiasts.
During an interview, SSU Coach Mr. Leandro Crebello expressed excitement about the two teams’ match. “It is exciting because we missed a championship game during the SCUAA.” He added that what happened during the SCUAA Games was something they left to the organizing committee to decide.
“As far as myself is concerned, I let it decide to the organizing committee. We do not have anything against (SLSU); in fact, we were expecting to have a good game with them. Sadly, the officiating officials weren’t doing their responsibility to manage the game properly. We do not have a rivalry against the SLSU because we see SCUAA as an avenue for making friends and showing sportsmanship. We have a good relationship with Coach Aaron and his team. What happened in the SCUAA Games, [wala na kami dun.] No hard feelings.”
One of the Sports Directors further clarified that no person of authority, either the Sports Director or the University President of the concerned parties had an involvement or influence in the decision that was made during deliberation process in the recent SCUAA Games.
SLSU Head Coach and Sports Director Mr. Aaron Espinas also expressed excitement for the upcoming championship match against the SSU.
“We are so excited to face them (SSU) since everyone knows that we’re good, SLSU and SSU were good. It is nothing personal to us, for us SLSU, it is about learning and growing.”
Coach Espinas, when asked about the controversy on his team’s rivalry with the SSU Deers, shared that he never in his wildest dreams thought of SSU as a rival, nor does he have any frustration or hard feelings for the other team, and emphasized that everything was a continuous and a learning process for them.
When asked how he feels about the upcoming match, Kingfisher Melvin Malatag, one of the season’s top MVP candidate, said he is thrilled to have a chance to play with SSU again, as they have built a friendship with the players from another team. He added that both teams look forward to seeing each other in the National Games.
Malatag also shared how he felt about the recent events during the SCUAA Games, “[Para namo], it was nothing. Whatever it was that the organizing committee decided that time, we would be willing to comply.”
[Kung muingon sila na iforfeit mi, dawaton namo. Kung muingon sila nga magduwa, muduwa pud mi.]
“If they decided to forfeit us, we would accept it. If they decided to let us play the game, we would play. It did not matter to us whether we were given a silver or a gold because what mattered to us, to our team, is the fun of playing the game,” Malatag added.