THE Philippine Collegiate Champions League has addressed questions about La Salle recruit Ben Mbala’s eligibility, saying a rule change cleared the way for incoming players even though they were not part of the lineup of their mother teams in the recently-concluded college season.
Questions were immediately raised by fans as to why Mbala is being allowed to play for the Green Archers since the concept of the PCCL is to pit the top college teams from the last season against each other to determine the true national champion.
But PCCL executive director Joe Lipa said officials decided as early as the start of this year’s college basketball season to open the gates for Mbala and other players who will be eligible for the next college season.
This is to compensate for the loss of players to graduation or to the PBA following the season.
“Players that have graduated or drafted in the PBA for one reason or another can’t play anymore, (so they) would be substituted by a player provided that player is qualified to play next year in their mother league,” Lipa said.
Such was the case of La Salle, which had Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres playing their final year with the team in Season 77. Mbala, meanwhile, is eligible to play for the UAAP next season after completing a two-year residency as required from foreign players.
“There has been a change in the rule as early as when we presented it to the UAAP and the NCAA,” said Lipa.
Josh Torralba, a transferee from Emilio Aguinaldo College who is now with La Salle, has also been included in the Archers’ PCCL lineup, while other schools including UAAP runner-up Far Eastern University have also applied the rule to compensate for loss of several players.