THE UAAP will not keep Rob Ricafort from playing in Season 80 but warned the UP Fighting Maroons of the risks of fielding the 24-year-old forward under a 20-day restraining order.
In an official statement, the UAAP said it will respect the TRO issued against the league decision ruling Ricafort ineligible. The UAAP age limit is 24 and athletes who will turn 25 during the season are deemed ineligible.
Ricafort turns 25 on January 28, after the UAAP basketball tournament, althoug the season does not end until the summer.
"The UAAP is a corporation duly organized under Philippine law. As such, we are duty bound to follow the law,” the league said.
“In the case of the process issued by the court in the form of a TRO which states that ‘With the duration of 20 days, respondent UAAP is hereby restrained from implementing its latest age eligibility requirement against herein petitioner Robert Roel Laxamana Ricafort.’ the UAAP does not intend to defy any court or any of its processes. But this is without prejudice to remedies available by the law.
UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag said UP assumes the risk of fielding Ricafort, stressing that the Maroons face possible forfeiture of matches which Ricafort will play.
"Me as commissioner, I cannot, and will not restrain him from playing. But they should be made aware and they are made aware that they do so under. They assume the risk, whether or not the court will eventually rule on the issue with finality because its only a TRO and after 20 days, we don't know what will happen," said Saguisag. "They were well-advised on the risk of fielding Ricafort. It's the team option," he said.
Saguisag said the league will only forfeit UP's games with Ricafort playing if the TRO is found to be null and void.
"In his case, I don't know. We are consulting our lawyers. But should the TRO be found to be null and void, we have to retroact," said Saguisag.
Not all cases end up with forfeited matches, as Saguisag cited Matthew Aquino’s game with National University two years ago, also through a TRO issued by the court, were not forfeited.
"The difference is that the TRO died a natural death, if I'm not mistaken. Therefore, all the games that he played during the duration of the TRO was valid and stayed.