THE NCAA has come under fire on social media for suspending Lyceum star forward CJ Perez for the opener of the Season 94 Finals against San Beda, with not a few branding the decision 'a joke.'
Reigning league MVP Perez will miss the opener of the best-of-three championship series as he serves out a one-game suspension after failing to inform the league of his intentions to enter the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
"What a joke! Smh!," exclaimed San Miguel guard Chris Ross on Twitter.
He wasn't alone.
"CJ Perez suspended in Game 1 of the NCAA finals?! Wow. That is a joke. I mean for the reason. That's crazy," wrote St. Benilde assistant coach Charles Tiu.
Former NCAA star and now NLEX guard Kevin Alas was just as emphatic in his reaction.
"BIG JOKE," he wrote on Twitter.
Coach Ariel Vanguardia was quick to recall the rule Perez broke, commenting, "Aljamal rule," referring to former San Beda forward Yousif Aljamal who was also slapped with a suspension for the same infraction.
Under league rules, any player who chooses to join the PBA draft must notify the NCAA first before submitting their applications.
The Hong Kong-born and Pangasinan-bred Perez had to file his draft application three weeks ago to meet the October 29 deadline for Fil-foreigners. Rookie hopefuls who are considered as 'locals' have until Dec. 3 to file their draft applications.
Perez is the third player to violate this rule following Aljamal in 2007 and San Sebastian's Leo Najorda in 2005.
As of this writing, the school is still appealing Perez' clearance to suit up for Game One on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
His absence, if it pushes through, will be a big blow for Lyceum, which is looking to avenge last season's runner-up finish and reward the school its first NCAA title since joining the league in 2011.