UAAP 82: Kouame good to go for Ateneo; Ojuola a no-go for FEU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 01, 2019 04:14 PM
Kouame good to go for Ateneo; Ojuola a no-go for FEU
Executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag has clarified the statuses of Ateneo's Ange Kouame and FEU's Emman Ojuola (Photo by Richard Esguerra)

Ateneo de Manila University will still trot out Ange Kouame for the upcoming UAAP Season 82 - that much is certain.

"To me, there's no issue," league executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag told reporters, referring to questions about Kouame's eligibility that have arisen, in the preseason press conference, Sunday at MOA Arena.

Last year's Rookie of the Year was the subject of a report that stated that "a number of member schools are reportedly demanding an inquiry over the eligibility of Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame and urging the UAAP to require the center from Ivory Coast to sit out one Season 82."

According to Saguisag, however, nothing official had happened with the matter. "As to a formal written complaint, none has reached the office. To be transparent, there was one query and there was a deliberation and I explained the present rule and after that, tapos na," he shared.

As present, the UAAP rule regarding foreign student-athletes (FSAs) out of high school was that he/she "shall not be subject to any residency requirement provided he/she graduates from a high school in the Philippines and has attended at least one full academic year in such school."

That means that the Ivorian tower, who had his last year of high school and then graduated in Multiple Intelligence International School in Katipunan Ave., could suit up right away in the UAAP - and play the full five years at that.

While Kouame has been given the green light to go ahead with his sophomore season, Emman Ojuola has not gotten the okay to debut for Far Eastern University in UAAP 82. "In the case of FEU's (Ojuola), I think he was ineligible because he's an FSA and one-and-done is only applicable for locals, for citizens of the Philippines," the Executive Director said.

Ojuola, a 6-foot-7 Nigerian, has been penciled into the Tamaraws' lineup to be the replacement for Cameroonian Prince Orizu.

Because he was already a graduate of Naga College Foundation, however, FEU was said to have to invoke the so-called "Troy Rike Rule" for him to be eligible.

That rule states that a student-athlete from a non-member school who is pursuing graduate studies in a member school shall not be subject to residency.

As per Saguisag, though, that only goes for Filipinos. As he put it, "Troy Rike was able to avail of that for the mere fact that he is a Filipino citizen."

He then continued, referring to De La Salle University's incoming trio of one-and-done Filipino-foreigners, "That same rule is being applied to the players from La Salle."

In all, questions like these could be avoided if and when the league finally irons out its guidelines regarding one-and-done players. "In fact, I can even call it done-and-one - done with college, one more year to play. Wala pang rule na ipinagbabawal siya so this should be addressed in the future," the league's exec. dir. said.

He then continued, "That's something we can revisit moving forward, but you cannot prohibit it right now before the season starts."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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