Photo and text by Danine Cruz
Two days before the official start of the season, Rob Ricafort of the University of the Philippines (UP) is officially tagged ineligible by the UAAP Board of Trustees (BOT) due to age issues.
His ineligibility was initially reported Monday but UP pleaded his case to the BOT which is composed of the highest officials of member schools. Unfortunately, the decision remained.
UP head coach Bo Perasol confirmed the BOT’s decision Friday morning.
The ground cited for his ineligibility is the new new rule as follows:
“For purposes of age requirement, all college athletes shall not be more than twenty-five (25) years old by June 30 which is the end of the UAAP Season, except for old students and players who are previously enrolled in the same University.”
UP will be fielding a 15-man lineup featuring Malian Ibrahim Ouattara who was initially ruled ineligible but granted eligibility by the UAAP BOT in the same meeting.
Ouattara was originally tagged as ineligible due to reports of his failure to fill in the two-year residency rule required for foreigners.
Ricafort, who is currently 24 years old, will only be turning 25 in January 2018, a month after the basketball season. Unfortunately, the basis of the age requirement is the end of the whole UAAP season, not just basketball, which is on June 30.
Ricafort shared his disappointment with the ruling but kept his head high despite the news.
“It’s heartbreaking, but this isn’t the end. God has something greater for me. I’ll have more time to prepare for [PBA] D-League now. The team will do great regardless! I’ve been with them long enough to know that they won’t back down from anyone,” the power forward said to Tinig ng Plaridel in a text message.
Season 80 was the 6-foot-4 catalyst’s supposed first and last playing year but due to the ruling, he will not be seeing action at all.