THE UAAP has the final say on whether it will honor or not the special guest license the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) issued to Juan Gomez de Liano.
GAB chairman Baham Mitra distanced his office on the eligibility issue hounding the University of the Philippines star guard, whose collegiate career was left in question after he suited up in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 professional league.
"We don't want to impose on the UAAP and the NCAA because they're not under us. We respect them, we work with them, we look up to them," Mitra said during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
GAB only regulates professional leagues such as the PBA, the Philippines Football League, and the Chooks 3x3 league, and does not have a say on matters involving collegiate leagues like the UAAP, NCAA, and the like.
Gomez de Liano, 20, was given a special GAB guest license which allowed him to keep his amateur status while playing for the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards in the 3x3 pro league's ongoing President's Cup.
On whether that GAB special license can save his college career remains to be seen. The UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year still has two years left in his collegiate career, but has previously announced that he and brother Javi will skip the next season.
UP will be pinning its hopes on the brothers comeback come UAAP Season 84, but Juan's stint in the 3x3 ranks may complicate matters.
The UAAP has yet to discuss the matter pending the resumption of the next season. It's only then that the eligibility committee deliberates on the eligibility of players.
As fas as the GAB is concerned, special exemptions like the one granted to Gomez de Liano will be beneficial to non-pro athletes.
Mitra said he believes that amateurs testing their skills in professional leagues under the clout of the special guest licenses can only benefit these athletes moving forward.
"Pinapayagan maglaro ang amateur dito sa professional leagues to give them exposure. Believe it or not, when they go back to the UAAP or the NCAA, they're gonna be better prepared, kasi nakaharap na nila yung mga a little older and more seasoned players sa kanila," he said.