Nigerian rookie Mbah cleared to play for Maroons
MANILA—Nigerian rookie Alinko Mbah will suit up for the University of the Philippines after completing the documents needed for his stint in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament this season.
Mbah, a 6-foot-9 center, is one of the eight foreigners listed in the league’s official lineup, while several foreigners with Filipino roots, including five rookies, are also playing this year.
“[Mbah] will play, we already have his red-ribbon authenticated documents,” UP coach Ricky Dandan said Monday.
Among the requirements for foreign players are red-ribbon certifications from the Philippine consulate of their country of origin.
Only the eligibility clearance of Mbah and Cameroonian Karim Abdul of the University of Santo Tomas had remained pending due to incomplete documents. The deadline of submission is at the end of the first round of eliminations.
“We’ll meet the deadline,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio.
Season 74 kicked off over the weekend with three-time champion Ateneo turning back Adamson, 55-51, and last year’s runner-up Far Eastern University downing La Salle, 74-65.
Mbah will be a vital cog when the Maroons—who had a winless run last season—start their bid against the University of the East at 3 p.m. on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigers, with new recruits Abdul and Filipino-Canadian Jamil Sheriff, take on a souped-up National University squad at 1 p.m.
Other listed foreigners are Kenyan Austin Manyara of Adamson, Cameroonians Christian Sentcheu and Pipo Noundou of FEU and NU’s Emmanuel Mbe and Americans Kirk Long of Ateneo and Moriah Gingerich of UP.
Aside from Sheriff, other foreign rookies with Filipino roots include NU’s Ray Parks, the son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, La Salle’s Norbert Torres (Canada) and Arnold Van Opstal (Germany), Ateneo’s Greg Slaughter (United States) and UP’s Robby Wierzba (United States).