UAAP axe falls on 3 ‘ineligible’ key players
Two prized recruits from Ateneo and La Salle were deemed ineligible to play along with a University of the East key cog in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament this season.
La Salle’s Cameroonian player Ben Mbala got the axe for violating a residency rule, while Ateneo’s Hubert Cani was deemed ineligible to benefit from Sen. Pia Cayetano’s “Student-Athletes Protection Act.”
Veteran guard Dan Alberto was also stricken from the UE roster for using up his five-year eligibility.
UAAP secretary treasurer Ronnie Dizer confirmed the developments yesterday after the league’s board meeting that finalized the details of Season 78 of the country’s premier varsity league which fires off on Sept. 5 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mbala, who should have been eligible this season after serving a two-year residency, saw action in a provincial tournament last year.
League rules prevent players “in the process of establishing residency requirements … from playing for another team in any league.”
A violation of the rule means “an additional one-year residency” with the yearlong penalty counting in his/her league playing years.
“We will follow the board’s decision,” said La Salle’s league representative Edwin Reyes.
Cani, a former National University juniors star who had served a one-year residency for Ateneo, had hoped to play this year following the passage of Cayetano’s bill that forbids leagues from imposing a two-year residency.
But Dizer said the Board decided that the bill will be a “proactive application” on Cani’s case and “not retroactive.”
The UAAP also barred Alberto from playing, noting that his previous stint in another collegiate league made his appearance with the Warriors last year as his final year of eligibility.
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