Mbala return leans on BOT
Only the UAAP Board of Trustees (BOT)—made up of the eight presidents of member schools—has the power to revise or suspend eligibility rules including the Seven Year Out of High School policy that will prevent La Salle’s two time Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala from seeing action in Season 81 next year.
La Salle remained mum on the case of Mbala on Wednesday as efforts to reach officials proved futile, although coach Aldin Ayo had earlier announced he expects the Cameroonian big man to return next season when they try to regain the crown won by rival Ateneo on Sunday in a thrilling three-game series.
Suspended for Seasons 79 and 80 in the absence of new recruits due to the K-12 program, the Seven Year Out of High School rule will be implemented again next season.
“College freshmen will return next school year (Season 81), so we will all have enough recruits unlike the past two years due to Grade 11 and Grade 12,” said a reliable source, a school official. “So the seven year rule will take effect again as agreed in 2016.”
The same source said the “ground rules” which Ayo cited as the reason Mbala could play next season only refer to the conduct of UAAP sports events.
“They do not determine which players are eligible to play,” said the source.
Another source noted the case of former Adamson player Austin Manyara a few seasons ago when the Kenyan center was already listed in the Falcons lineup, before the team learned that season was his eighth school year after high school. It prompted team officials to remove him from the roster with the tournament about to begin.
Following the league’s reorganization at the start of the season, the UAAP BOT will have the final decisions on whether or not the suspension of the rule is extended or revised, unlike before when the UAAP Board, now known as the Board of Managing Directors (BMD), made such decisions.
“La Salle has the option to bring up the Seven Year Out Of High School rule when the BMD holds its workshop in January, but the final decision will come from the BOT,” the source added.
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