UST’s Akomo, UP’s Ouattara eligible for UAAP Season 80
University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines can heave a sigh of relief as the UAAP Board of Trustees (BOT) officially allowed the schools’ foreign players to suit up this UAAP Season 80.
The BOT gave Cameroonian Steve Akomo and Mali-born Ibrahim Ouattara the green light to play for their teams, overturning the earlier ruling by the Eligibility Committee disallowing the foreign players from suiting up, citing the supposed two-year residency rule.
Composed of the University Presidents from all the eight member-schools, the Board of Trustees met on Thursday in Far Eastern University to settle the issue, with Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin participating via video conference.
“We thank the UAAP BOT for its kindness and generosity. It is heartwarming to know that it has the best interests of the student-athletes in mind, despite the obviously competitive environment,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.
The soft-spoken mentor and the Fighting Maroons can now fully focus in their campaign this season, which starts on Sunday.
“At least now, everybody can focus on the games and no longer in the rules that have threatened to disenfranchise some deserving players,” said Perasol.
Lawyer Agaton Uvero, chairman of the nowheretogbutUP Foundation, said Ouattara has electronically submitted his requirement documents before the deadline.
“The original copies are on their way from Tripoli, Libya, and will arrive in a couple of days,” he added.
Unfortunately, the appeal of UP’s Rob Ricafort was denied as the BOT ruled him ineligible for reaching the age limit.
The Fil-Am forward will turn 25 years old on January, two months earlier from the set limit which is the end of the season.
UP and UST will open their respective campaigns against each other on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.