FAR Eastern University is no longer assuming that Mac Belo and Russel Escoto will be playing for the Tamaraws this season despite a rule change that made them still eligible to see action in UAAP Season 79.
FEU athletic director Mark Molina said Belo and Escoto are committed to take part in the Gilas cadets team that is being formed for the Fiba Asia Challenge set September 9 to 18 in Iran.
The Fiba Asia Challenge Cup, however, runs smack with the first few weeks of the UAAP seniors basketball tournament, which will kicks off September 3.
With Belo and Escoto being part of the Gilas cadets, Molina said that the chances of the two playing their final year with the Tamaraws in Season 79 are slim to none.
“They are both committed to play sa Fiba Asia which is kasabay ng UAAP. So it’s safe to say na they will no longer play for FEU,” said Molina.
After leading FEU to the 2015 title in what was supposed to be their final years with the school, Belo and Escoto became eligible to play for the Tamaraws this season after the league scrapped the seven-year window period for athletes to suit up a maximum of five years.
Molina, however, said the school didn’t speak to Belo or Escoto about suiting up for Season 79 even though they regularly see each other at the FEU campus. Belo and Escoto also haven’t told the school about their willingness to play for the coming season.
“As I said before, hindi namin napagusapan. Never namin napagusapan. Palagi (kami nagkikita) dahil dito pa sila nakatira sa FEU. As I said, kahit kami, we feel na they should move on kasi ready na sila to move to the next stage of their career,” said Molina.
Belo and Escoto would have been good additions to the FEU squad in defense of its UAAP title, especially with the resurgence of La Salle, which is being picked as the strong title contender for Season 79.
But Molina feels that Belo and Escoto are already ripe to play in a higher level and playing college ball might only be a disservice for them and for the school.
“Panahon na para kumita sila. Baka ma-injured pa sila sa UAAP. Unfair na ‘yun,” said Molina.