TINGOG party-list led by its first nominee, Leyte (1st District) Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez was all praises for the Eastern Visayas Collegiate Athletic Association (EVCAA) after it successfully concluded its first intercollegiate basketball tournament in Eastern Visayas.
“When I first pitched the idea of an inter-collegiate basketball tournament for Eastern Visayas, I never thought that EVCAA was going to be such a big success. A semester-long collegiate league, played on a home-and-away format, with live TV, radio and live streaming coverage has simply never been done before at the regional level,” said Jude Acidre, second nominee of Tingog.
“But we dreamed big. I was far from being a sports aficionado, that’s why we got a very passionate commissioner Julius Ross Abuda Lacaba. Just in time for the three weeks notice, he readily resigned from his day job, accepted a pay cut and took on the demanding task of managing the league. We got the prospective teams together. In the end, eight made it to the final cut,” he added.
While Acidre said there were challenges along the way, he remained thankful to university officials, sports coordinators and varsity coaches, particularly to university presidents Dr. Jude Duarte and Dr. Dominador Aguirre.
Acidre also expressed gratitude to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the country’s top basketball organization, for “a professional and well-officiated league.”
“Special mention to incumbent Leyte First District Representative Yedda Romualdez, former Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Tingog party-list led by its president Glenn Capucion for making our dream their own. EVCAA would never be the success it became, without their support and encouragement,” Acidre said.
According to Acidre, EVCAA is more than just about the sport. “When we first conceptualized it, the goal was to improve the institutional profile of our state colleges and university (SUCs), increase their competitiveness, bring the alumni community together and to give our young students a chance to experience winning. Today, we had basketball champions. Hopefully, tomorrow’s champions in life.”
“Today, we champion success in sports and in life. Always and into the future, we will champion our region’s cause. Today, we award trophies to the winners. In the end, we will award a better life for our families and the communities where we live in. Because our dream is more than our league. It is more than a game. It is about becoming the best version of ourselves - in sports and in life,” Acidre added.
Meanwhile, Lacaba thanked its partners PRTV-Tacloban for the live TV coverage, Reptours Express through its proprietor R Mae Palaña and her drivers for the transportation, KBOX Studios through Kendel Esperas, broadcaster Kevin Siosana for the live sports commentary, SBP through Jerry Guzman Abuyabor, technical head Manolo Cabibihan and assistant technical head Coco Albesa, along with the participating schools.
“The EVCAA initiative has never been done before and is very ambitious but we’ve done our best to make a big step towards the right direction,” said Lacaba as he also thanked Tingog for its support.
‘The basketball tournament, participated by majority of the SUCs) in the region, premiered in January 25 and ended in April 6.
The EVCAA season one winners are Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU), 1st; Samar State University (SSU), 2nd; and Biliran Province State University (BiPSU), 3rd.
Visayas State University (VSU), Leyte Normal University (LNU), Naval State University (NSU), Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU), University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) joined in the games.
EVCAA announced that it will launch its first women’s volleyball in the next season.