UP ‘optimistic’ ineligibility of two starters will be resolved

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 04, 2017 08:18 PM
UP ‘optimistic’ ineligibility of starters will be resolved
IT AIN'T OVER. UP is adamant that the ineligibility of Ibrahim Quattara and Rob Ricafort is not yet final.

The University of the Philippines’ fight in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament is in danger of getting smaller.

The Fighting Maroons bared on Monday that Malinese Ibrahim Quattara and transferee Rob Ricafort have been deemed ineligible to play in the oncoming season. “We just found out that our starting forward and starting center are ineligible,” head coach Bo Perasol said in the preseason press conference at the MOA Arena.

Quattara is yet to complete the two-year residency for foreign student-athletes while Ricafort will be over the age limit, according to the ruling of the UAAP’s eligibility committee.

As per Perasol, he has penciled in both Quattara and Ricafort as his starting frontline to backup main man Paul Desiderio and guards Diego Dario and Jun Manzo.

Quattara stands at six-foot-nine and exhibits excellent rebounding skills while Ricafort stands at six-foot-four and brings energy whenever he’s on the floor.

Asked about the development, though, State U athletic director Ronualdo Dizer answered, “I would just like to correct what coach said about eligibility. It’s not yet final because the BMD [Board of Managing Directors] is not a policy-making body.”

According to Dizer, their players’ ineligibility was just a recommendation by the BMD and the final say is with the UAAP Board of Trustees. “Basing it on the two-year residency rule [for foreigners] during the time of [Ben] Mbala, they are recommending non-eligibility to the Board of Trustees,” he said.

As such, UP is acting for a reversal of course. As its head coach put it, “We are going to elevate it to the Board of Trustees. We will appeal it.”

The Board of Trustees, made up of the presidents of all member-schools, will convene by Tuesday for a final decision.

Then, the Fighting Maroons are upbeat they will be receiving good news. “On the UP side, we are very optimistic. There’s a good chance that [Quattara and Ricafort] are seeing action for Season 80,” Dizer expressed.

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