Revived rule makes Mbala ineligible next season
The return of an eligibility rule that was suspended in the last two seasons could prevent La Salle’s two-time Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala from seeing action in UAAP Season 81 next year.
The Cameroonian who led the Green Archers to the Season 79 crown and a runner-up finish last Sunday might not be eligible to play next season due to the “Seven Years Out of High School” rule, which was not implemented in the last two seasons.
While La Salle coach Aldin Ayo expressed confidence that Mbala would play for the Archers in 2018, the UAAP Board’s March 12, 2016, decision might end up spoiling his return.
In that meeting, the UAAP Board ruled that the “Seven Years Out of High School” rule shall be applied after Season 80 unless “such suspension is extended or the rule amended or repealed.”
League officials had said the decision to suspend the rule was changed out of necessity as only a few players would be available for college teams in the next few years due to the implementation of the K-12 program.
“The way I understand it is the Seven Years Out of High School will resume next year,” said a league source. “The question is if we put it back, will it be applied retroactively or prospectively.”
Mbala’s school records from Southwestern University showed that the 6-foot-8 stalwart graduated high school from Institut Samba in Yaounde, Cameroon, in 2011, which means that next season will be his eighth year out of high school.
A reliable source provided the Inquirer with copies of Mbala’s records.
The 23-year-old Mbala had earlier said he would still study his options regarding his return for next season, but Ayo had hinted that his star would suit up next season.
“He still has one year based on the ground rules of the UAAP,” Ayo said, while also hinting that he will be staying put as La Salle coach. “Ben still has one more year in the UAAP. He’ll be here next year.”
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