UNIVERSITY of the East coach Derrick Pumaren hopes the UAAP will rethink the league’s new rule limiting foreign players to just one per team.
Pumaren said the imposition of the rule this coming Season 77 will greatly affect imports including those in the Red Warriors’ roster who are already eligible to play this season.
Quoting informed sources, Spin.ph has reported that the league is set to allow only one import (from two) per team starting in the new season that will open this July.
As it is, Cameroonian swingman Moustapha Arafat will be eligible to play for the Warriors this year. But with UE still having Sierra Leonean veteran center Charles Mammie in its roster, the team will have to choose who between Arafat and Mammie to include in the lineup.
Pumaren finds the new rule unfair especially for Arafat, who already underwent two-year residency set for foreign athletes.
“Like for Arafat, he already served his two-year residency tapos hindi siya puwedeng maglaro. Medyo mahirap para sa bata,” said Pumaren, who was a consultant of the Hong Kong national basketball team prior to joining the Recto-based squad.
“Let’s not talk about the investment of UE. Just talk about him as person, and as a human being. He served his two years, he is ready to play, then all of a sudden, hindi makakalaro. That’s my opinion,” said Pumaren.
Arafat gave UE fans a reason to be excited for the coming season, as he scored 12 points in his Filoil Premier Cup preseason debut, which he capped with an alley-oop dunk against UAAP champion La Salle.
Pumaren, however, made it clear he will respect whatever decision the UAAP will make on the matter.
“But hopefully, it’s going to be a change of heart. For the sake of Arafat and whoever player na nag-serve na ng two years na supposedly makakalaro na. I feel for the guy. Okay lang ‘yung bagong dating, pero ‘yung ready to play, parang masakit putting myself into their position,” said Pumaren.
Once the new rule becomes official, Pumaren said he will have a tough decision choosing between the imposing Mammie and the athletic Arafat.
“I’ll wait for the last day of submission of the provisional lineup to decide, if ever may rule change,” said Pumaren.