VIC Bartolome earned a living in basketball as a former PBA referee.
Now, the very same sport is likely to have a big effect on the athletic career of his daughter in the UAAP - but for a different reason.
Anna Dominique Bartolome, the reigning juniors MVP of the UAAP swimming competitions, is expected to take the same route as celebrated juniors cager Jerie Pingoy owing to the new two-year residency rule implemented by the country’s premier collegiate league on high school transferees.
Bartolome finished high school at University of Santo Tomas, but will be go to college at the University of the Philippines.
During the Senate inquiry on Monday, the elder Bartolome expressed opposition to the new rule which was prompted by Pingoy’s decision to go to college at Ateneo after playing for two seasons with the Far Eastern University high school team.
Bartolome said her daughter's career has become collateral damage of a rule that was primarily crafted to discourage player poaching in basketball.
“Because of basketball, naapektuhan kami ng anak ko as an athlete,” said Bartolome, who officiated PBA games for a decade during the 1990s.
The rule change is set to take effect in all UAAP sports starting next season, although Senator Pia Cayetano has asked the league board to take a second look at the controversial rule before its implementation.
“Sa basketball nagkakaroon ng gulo, bakit ‘yung ibang sports maapektuhan. Huwag sana natin i-deprive ‘yun sa mga bata,” said Bartolome, now a member of the UP basketball team staff.
In a statement, Anna Dominique said she believes the rule is harsh for high school transferees like her.
“Masyadong harsh `yung two-year residency rule. Okay lang siguro `yung one year, but two years? Yung one year makakatulong din sa pag-adapt sa bagong environment. But two years? Mukhang masyadong ma-hi-hinder `yung growth ng player,” said the young Bartolome.
The promising swimmer said UP's recruitment pitch had little to do with her decision to switch school.
“Pinili ko ang UP unang-una, kasi halos lahat ng family ko ay nasa UP. Kapag mag-co-college ka tinitignan mo rin `yung ranking ng school at top school din naman ang UP.
“Hindi sa I am downgrading UST. Diyan din naman ako galing. A student should continue to grow and spread his or her wings.”
Anna Dominique said she was not forced to join the UST seniors team as her coach also said they respected her move to go to UP. But the young swimmer said it is the new UAAP rule that deprives high school athletes the freedom to choose which school to study in.
“Ginawa ng UAAP board ay hindi ako binigyan ng chance mamili ng school. Masyadong sinakal kaming mga student-athletes. Bakit? Kayo (UAAP) lang ang may say sa kinabukasan ng bata? Paano magulang ko? Paano kami? Paano ako?” she said.
“Student-athlete kami. Student ang nauna doon sa word kaya yun dapat ang priority,” the young Bartolome added.