Is UPís win against DLSU in danger because they #LetRobPlay?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 23, 2017 09:31 PM
Is UPís win against DLSU in danger because they #LetRobPlay?
COURT BATTLE. Rob Ricafort was left speechless after having finally debuted in the UAAP.

The University of the Philippines scored its biggest win in over a decade by upsetting defending champion and Ben Mbala-led De La Salle University on Saturday.

However, that biggest win in over a decade still has a chance of getting forfeited – if the worst-case scenario happens for the Fighting Maroons.

By fielding in controversial player Rob Ricafort, even if he just played 10.5 minutes, State U is taking that risk.

Ricafort was only able to suit up after the Manila Regional Trial Court issued last Friday a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the UAAP decision regarding his ineligibility.

Two weeks ago, the league’s eligibility committee recommended the 24-year-old’s ineligibility, citing that he will be over the age limit during the season. His birthday is in January of next year.

Not long after, the league’s Board of Trustees affirmed the recommendation.

With the TRO secured by Ricafort, that league decision was put on hold for 20 days.

According to UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag, however, fielding in a player who was initially declared ineligible is, without a doubt, a risk. “They assume the risk depending on how the court will decide. After 20 days, we don’t know what will happen,” he said.

He then continued, “Kasi, this is only a TRO and after 20 days, we don’t know what’s going to happen after or even before the 20 days, some things might happen. So (UP) was well-advised of the concomitant risks of fielding Mr. Ricafort.”

Saguisag, a lawyer by trade, furthered that the risk for UP lies in the fact that the TRO is not an end-all, be-all. "In his case, we are consulting our lawyers, but should the TRO be found to be null and void, we have to retroact," he said.

Fully aware of the worst-case scenario, head coach Bo Perasol said they are confident everything will work out fine. “Yung mga bagay na yan, sinigurado ko sa mga abugado ng UP. Sa kanila, it is more wrong to defy a court order than to follow it,” he said.

He then continued, “Bahala na sila, ‘di ako abugado. Kung na-forfeit, sayang, pero I’m sure they know where they’re coming from.”

And for Ricafort himself, the risk just may be worth it. Asked how it felt to have finally debuted in the UAAP, he answered, “I was so happy. Honestly, I don’t even have the right words to give you exactly. I was just really happy that I have the TRO.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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