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SC Justice on UP boycott of UAAP Cheerdance: Honor your competition

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Is UP Pep’s boycott of the 2016 UAAP Cheerdance competition a gallant stand or an unfair treatment of their competition?

Well, it wasn’t much of a gallant stand for UP alum and Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

“Maintain principles but also honor your competition,” Leonen said over his Twitter account.

Leonen made the tweet after UP Pep, an eight-time UAAP champion, announced Wednesday that they will not participate in the annual tournament for the first time since lording over the league in 1995.

This action was in response to the UAAP board’s non-action of their protest regarding the results of the 2015 UAAP Cheerdance competition where they finished third behind 3-peat champions NU and longtime rival UST Salinggawi.

UP’s third place finish last year is their “worst” in six years.

Days after the revelation of results, UP coach Lalaine Juarez-Perez filed a written protest to the UAAP heads. She cited the specific flaws of both NU and UST teams, and questioned the criteria for scoring on how they only landed third place despite the technicalities.

The board, however, refused to take action on the UP protest, prompting UP to skip this year’s competition where it has always been a title contender.

Protests are not new in the UAAP.

On Sept. 23, 2012, the UAAP Board ruled in favor of the protest lodged by NU Coach Eric Altamirano over NU’s Sept. 2 match vs. FEU in the elimination round after the UAAP Technical Committee declared FEU’s RR Garcia’s buzzer-beater and game-winning lay-up as inconclusive. Ato Badolato was the UAAP commissioner of that season.

As a result, the FEU win was nullified and NU and FEU had to play against each other again.

Considering this past UAAP ruling and basic human decency, UP was right to cry injustice since their protest was ignored. But we, and apparently SC Justice Leonen too, don’t think that this unfairness of the UAAP Board merits a boycott as a response from the side of the UP Pep.

In fact, we find UP Pep Squad’s decision to boycott just as unfair as the UAAP Board. Since UP has always been a title contender, their absence in the UAAP Cheerdance would unfairly and automatically cast doubt on this year’s eventual winner.

By boycotting, UP is denying their competition the opportunity to beat them fair and square, and SC Justice Leonen knows it.

“Judgement can also come from those who see you do your best. They will know whether you have been unfairly ranked,” Leonen added.

The Supreme Court Justice from UP has spoken, and UP Pep should heed his call.

NOTE: The last time that a squad boycotted the UAAP Cheerdance tilt was in 1998, when UST Salinggawi decided to skip the competition to give chance to other schools to win the gold as they were winning each crown yearly. UST Salinggawi, like the UP Pep, has eight UAAP titles.