Cayetano slams 'immature, arrogant' UAAP board after Hubert Cani declared ineligible
"The UAAP board should stop treating student-athletes like commodities," says Sen. Pia Cayetano in the wake of the Huber Cani conroversy. Jerome Ascano

SENATOR Pia Cayetano has slammed the UAAP board's decision to declare Ateneo recruit Hubert Cani ineligible this season, saying its another display of the college league's 'arrogance' and 'immaturity.'

The UAAP ruled on Monday that Cani cannot play for the Blue Eagles in the coming season, invoking the league's two-year controversial residency rule for high school transferees which is set to be outlawed by the Student-Athletes Protection Bill which Cayetano sponsored and pushed in the Senate.

However, the league board ruled that the case of Cani, a former high school star at National University who moved to Ateneo last school year, is not covered by the bill which has been passed by both houses of Congress and is only awaiting President Aquino's signature to become a law.

"The UAAP board has once more displayed its arrogance and immaturity by invoking its unjust two-year residency rule against a high school student-athlete who has transferred to a different school in college," said Cayetano in a statement.

[See Blue Eagles recruit Huber Cani grounded by UAAP board]

Cayetano said it is immaterial that the Student-Athletes Protection Bill, which will bar college leagues from imposing residency rules on transferees once it becomes a law, has not been signed by the President.

The senator said residency rules are unjust, period.

"This is the very same UAAP rule that an RTC court struck down two years ago in favor of (UP) swimmer Mikee Bartolome," she said. "In the case of basketball player Hubert Cani, he has even served one-year residence already and was hoping to play this season.

"It is irrelevant that the Student-Athletes Protection Bill has not been signed by the President yet. The UAAP must respect a student-athlete's right to study and play for the school of his choice. The UAAP is not a commercial but an amateur league.

"The UAAP board should stop treating student-athletes like commodities."

[See UAAP board bars Ben Mbala from playing this season due to 'ligang labas' violation]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports