The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) has officially allowed foreign players Ibrahim Ouattara of the University of the Philippines (UP) and Steve Akomo of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to play in the upcoming Season 80.
Previously, the Eligibility Committee of the UAAP declared as ineligible the two foreign players, citing as reason the supposed two-year residency rule.
However, in the interest of justice and fairness, the BOT overturned this ruling in a board meeting held yesterday at the campus of UAAP Season 80 host school Far Eastern University (FEU).
The BOT is composed of the University Presidents of all the eight (8) member-schools. Seven (7) Presidents personally attended the meeting while Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) President Fr. Jett Villarin participated “electronically” via video conferencing.
“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 Bo Perasol, Head Coach of the UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team.
Perasol added, “The UAAP BOT also gave Ibrahim (Ouattara) 48 hours before our first game to submit all official documents, and which he has already submitted, so at least now everybody can focus on the games and no longer in the rules that have threatened to disenfranchise some deserving players.”
According to lawyer Agaton Uvero, chair of nowheretogbutUP Foundation, “Ouattara electronically submitted his documents before the deadline, legal, valid and binding based on Sections 6, 10 and 17 of RA 8792 or the E-commerce Law. Anyway, the original copies are on their way from Tripoli, Libya, and will arrive in a couple of days”.
Meanwhile, Rob Ricafort, another UP player, is still deemed ineligible due to his age.
Incidentally, both schools will play each other in their first game for Season 80 on Sunday, September 10, 2pm, at the Mall of Asia Arena.