EVEN if one of its players is found to have violated league rules, San Beda will likely still have a shot at making the Final Four of the NCAA men's basketball tournament owing to revisions done on sanctions against 'larong labas' violations.
An NCAA official who asked not to be named said the league made changes to its rules just last year with regards to players who are caught playing in other leagues while the season is in progress.
Previously, the sanction for such a infraction was a stiff one, with the guilty player slapped with a ban from the league, removed from the roster, and all the team's wins in games where he played in during the season forfeited.
However, the league has since relaxed the rules, which now call for a three-game suspension on the player and the forfeiture of all the team's wins from the time the violation was committed.
On Sunday, Spin.ph has reported that rival teams claim to hold video evidence that San Beda point guard Ryusei Koga played in another league in Paranaque City on September 17 in violation of NCAA rules.
[For full story, see 'Larong labas' accusation against guard Koga imperils San Beda's four-peat quest]
The Red Lions finished with the best record at the elimination round with a 15-3 mark following their 78-62 rout of Arellano on Saturday - the only game Koga missed in the eliminations.
A check done by Spin.ph showed that if the new rules were to be applied in the event a Koga violation is proven, San Beda will forfeit four won games from September 17.
Such a scenario would leave them in fourth place at 11-7 just ahead of Emilio Aguinaldo College which has a 10-8 card - enough to give the Red Lions the last berth in the Final Four.
As No. 4 seed, the Red Lions would be at a twice-to-win disadvantage against the new top seed.
However, had they decided to play Koga in the game against the Chiefs, the Red Lions would end up in a tie for fourth place with the Generals, necessitating a playoff.
When the Red Lions decided not to play Koga against the Chiefs on Saturday, team manager Jude Roque was quick to explain that the point guard skipped the game because he was in sick bay.
However, Roque has also admitted to Spin.ph that he was already aware of the 'larong labas' accusations against Koga on the day of the match.
The old sanction was last handed out during the 2010-2011 season when women’s volleyball players from College of Saint Benilde and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta were caught playing in a tournament while the season was ongoing. This led to the entire semifinal round being replayed in Season 86.