UNIVERSITY of the Philippines took the good with the bad on the UAAP board’s decision to declare Ibrahim Ouattara eligible while ruling out Rob Ricafort for Season 80.
After all, the decision by the UAAP board to allow Ouattara to play essentially bodes well for Bright Akhuetie’s stint with the Fighting Maroons next year.
The UAAP board of trustees (BOT), which is now composed of the school presidents of the member schools, ruled Ouattara is eligible to play this year after a one-year residency, days after the league's eligibility committee said otherwise, saying he needs two years because he’s a foreigner-transferee.
With the UAAP board's decision, issues are not expected to crop up on another foreigner-transferee of UP in Akhuetie, who is in the process of undergoing a one-year residency following his transfer from Perpetual Help.
UP, however, is not focused on the future as the Maroons are looking forward to have Ouattara in this season’s roster after he proved a key player in the preseason, averaging 10.9 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks for the Maroons in the Filoil tournament.
"We thank the UAAP BOT for its kindness and generosity," said UP coach Bo Perasol. "It is heartwarming to know that it has the best interests of the student-athletes in mind, despite the obviously competitive environment."
The UAAP BOT, Perasol said, has given Ouattara two days before UP's first game of Season 80 to turn over his documents, which he has already complied electronically.
"The UAAP BOT also gave Ibrahim 48 hours to submit all official documents, and which he has already submitted, so at least now, everybody can focus on the games and no longer in the rules that have threatened to disenfranchise some deserving players," he said.
Lawyer Agaton Uvero, chairman of the nowheretogobutUP Foundation, said Ouattara's submission of his documents electronically is legal and binding based on Sections 6, 10, adn 17 of Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Law.
Nevertheless, Perasol said the original copies of Ouattara's documents are already on its way to the Philippines from Tripoli, Libya.
Meanwhile, the appeal of Ricafort was denied by the UAAP board as he was not allowed to play this season for being 25 years old after the cutoff period of June 30.