IF National University’s calculations are correct, Emmanuel Mbe would still be eligible to play for the Bulldogs in the upcoming 76th season of the UAAP.
The Cameroonian center had been largely believed to have played out his eligibility after last season, but NU coach Eric Altamirano said the school believes Mbe can still play for another year based on the documents previously submitted by the school to the league.
“I actually double-checked and okay naman siya,” said Altamirano, referring to Mbe’s playing eligibility.
Mbe has previously played for STI college in lesser-known collegiate leagues before transferring to NU, red-shirting for one year before making his debut with the Bulldogs in 2010.
He made it to the league's Mythical Five in his debut with the Bulldogs in 2010 and helped NU reach the Final Four in his third season with the team in 2012.
All eligibility questions among basketball players will not be settled until the eligibility meeting weeks prior to the start of the tournament on June 29.
Until then, Altamirano is keeping his fingers crossed.
“You’ll never know sa eligibility meeting. But we are double checking. We want to make sure na tama kami,” Altamirano said.
Altamirano declined to go into details with regards to Mbe’s eligibility, but said he feels that the Bulldogs have a good case.
“We are just relying on the records na binigay namin sa UAAP. Kung ano ’yung andoon, kung ano ’yung sabihin nila, we will follow. Pero so far, ang sinasabi nila (NU officials), eligible pa,” said Altamirano.
With the possibility of Mbe playing for another year, the Bulldogs are set to have three foreigners in its pool of players along with fellow Cameroonians Henry Betayene and Alfred Arogo, a member of its Team B.
However, UAAP rules state that only two foreign players can be included in a team's roster for a season. The rules also state that only one foreigner will be allowed to play on the court at any time.
Ateneo had two American players in its lineup in Kirk Long and Vince Burke a few years back.