UAAP: Ineligibility woes haunt La Salle anew

Philippine Daily Inquirer

AN ?HONEST MISTAKE? FORCED the La Salle women?s volleyball team to drop its bid for redemption just a year after returning from suspension in the UAAP.

The Lady Archers forfeited all their victories in the second round when Jacqueline Alarca, La Salle?s top scorer and the league?s leading blocker and server, continued to compete in the league even after filing a league of absence (LOA) from the university.

Rolando Perez, head of the UAAP eligibility committee, said La Salle?s wins will be disregarded starting Jan. 15, the date the school approved the LOA of the 5-foot-9 spiker.

As a result, the Lady Archers foiled their shot at the Final Four as their 6-7 win-loss record dropped to 2-11.

?She decided to go on LOA thinking that she?s already eligible because the tournament has started,? Bro. Bernie Oca, La Salle?s representative to the UAAP, said after yesterday?s emergency board meeting.

?It was an oversight on our part. The rule says the player has to be a student until the end of the tournament.?

The Lady Archers missed a chance to win four straight championships last season when the UAAP imposed a one-year suspension on La Salle in all sports due to the men?s basketball eligibility scandal.

But this year, Alarca kept the Lady Archers semifinal hopes alive after winning four of their last seven games.

?It was an honest mistake,? said Oca, noting that the confusion rose from La Salle?s different academic calendar, which is a three-term system instead of the common two-semester school year.

?She passed the eligibility in the second term and enrolled in the third term. The problem was most of the women?s games during the third term were on Thursday [and it conflicted with her class schedule] so she decided to go on leave.?

University of Santo Tomas, though, will try to put attention back on court when its men and women?s volleyball teams shoot for key victories Sunday.

Unbeaten in 13 games, the Tigers will try to complete an elimination round sweep versus the second-ranking Far Eastern Tamaraws (12-1 win-loss) at 2 p.m. Sunday at the UP Gym.

But even if the Tigers pull off the feat, they still have to got through the Final Four.

The Tigresses (11-2) are also up for a crucial game against the league-leading Adamson Lady Falcons (12-1) at 2 p.m., followed by the 4 p.m. clash between FEU (11-2) and Ateneo (7-6) at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Victories by UST and FEU will forge a three-way tie with Adamson for the top spot at 12-1.

In football, Ateneo (6-0-2 win-draw-loss) will try to stay on top in men?s action against UP at the Erenchun Field in Ateneo, while defending champion FEU (5-1-1) will try to sustain its dominating form in the distaff side versus UST at 3 p.m. at the Ocampo Field.

UST and UP (7-1) will try to stay ahead of the baseball pack against separate foes Sunday.

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