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    Benilde hopes dashed as NCAA board fails to rule on Perpetual eligibility row

    Oct 25, 2018
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    LIKE in a number of occasions in what was a roller-coaster season, the College of St. Benilde Blazers simply ran out of time.

    This time, however, it wasn't on the hardcourt.

    A last-ditch meeting among members of the NCAA's policy board which would have given the Blazers a shot at making the Season 94 Final Four failed to push through owing to a lack of quorum.

    Perpetual Help's season had been put into question when St. Benilde sought an inquiry into possible violations by some Altas players on the league's residency rules, raising the possibility of Perpetual victories being forfeited.

    But with no decision from the policy board on the issue, Perpetual is now set to face defending champion and twice-to-beat San Beda on Friday at the start of the Final Four at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

    "Ang Final Four you cannot stop it, you cannot change it until may final ruling," said a high-ranking league official.

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    Sources said that a meeting was called for Thursday night among policy board members to discuss the issue. With Perpetual and St. Benilde inhibiting from the investigation, at least five school representatives needed to show up for the meeting to push through.

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    Only four school representatives showed up.

    "No quorum tonight," said one official. "May apat na e. Pero kulang e. You need atleast five dahil walo pa 'yung natitirang school."

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      According to sources, the league's basketball committee launched an investigation last week and eventually came up with a recommendation that finds Perpetual in violation of residency rules.

      On Tuesday, the committee presented the case to the Management Committee (Mancomm) en banc as the elimination round was about to end. The Manconm then elevated the case to the policy board for the a decision on sanctions.

      While it was determined that the Altas were indeed in violation of residency rules, the question that the policy board needed to answer is if there's actual negligence on Perpetual's part, a source said.

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      League rules state that questions regarding the eligibility of certain players can only be raised 24 hours before the end of the first round unless there's a negligence on the part of the school in question.

      "Ang tanong sa policy board is, 'Please determine if there's any negligence. If there is, then we'll continue with our findings, itutuloy na namin," said another source who was privy to the investigation.

      "Hindi yan mai-implement kasi kailangan ng guidance ng policy board kung meron ngang negligence," he added.

      That doesn't mean the Altas are completely out of the woods yet, as the board can still make a decision even after the Final Four and impose sanctions on the school, insiders bared.

      Unfortunately for Benilde though, their best chance of a first Final Four appearance since 2003 evaporated as Thursday passed.

      "Hindi na uulitin yan. Ilalaro ang Final Four, tuloy yan. Kung mapatunayan along the way, then may sanctions pa rin," said another source. "Pero di na uulitin yang laro."

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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