SENATOR Pia Cayetano's bill has raised hope that Jerie Pingoy may yet be able to play for the Ateneo Blue Eagles this season.
Cayetano announced on Monday that Senate Bill 2226, or the Student-Athletes Protection Act, has been approved on third and final reading by the Senate, bringing hope that it will be enacted into law before or during the UAAP basketball season.
They Said It!
“In my opinion, if (the Cayetano bill) is passed before the eligibility process, yes they can play. If after that, no." UAAP board member
“Happy to report that my SBN 2226, Student-Athletes Protection Act has just been approved on 3rd and final reading,” Cayetano tweeted on Monday night.
The bill seeks to protect student athletes from commercialism and unfair residency rules in college sports and was proposed by Cayetano amid the fury over UAAP's decision to require a two-year residency for high school graduates moving from one UAAP member school to another.
The controversy was actually triggered by Pingoy's decision to move to Ateneo at the end of his high school career with Far Eastern University in 2012.
But with the two-year residency rule likely to be scrapped once Cayetano's bill becomes a law, questions have now been raised if players who are currently serving residency, like Pingoy, automatically becomes eligible to play for their respective schools.
Pressed for comment, Rod Roque, the official spokesperson of the league for Season 77 in his capacity as UAAP secretary treasurer, said the league will still have to decide on the matter as a collegial body.
“The UAAP Board has to convene first and then we will issue an official statement,” said Roque on Tuesday.
However, another board member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the league may have no choice but to allow Pingoy and other red-shirting players to see action once the Cayetano bill is passed into law.
Otherwise, the league will be guilty of breaking the law, the board member said.
Another board member felt Pingoy's hopes will rest on how fast the bill can be passed into law. If it becomes a law before the eligibility meeting that is usually held weeks prior to the start of the season, he said Pingoy and Co. will have a shot at playing this season.
The board member, however, believes the bill cannot make Pingoy eligible if it is passed during the campaign since the league forbids teams from making any new insertions to the lineup in midstream.
“In my opinion, if (the Cayetano bill) is passed before the eligibility process, yes they can play. If after that, no,” said the board member.
Still, the board member said the final decision rests on the board.
“That is only my opinion. It will still be discussed when it happens,” said the board member.