DE La Salle star Arnold Van Opstal said on Thursday he has yet to get the green light from the school to join the Gilas team that will defend the Philippines' gold medal in the coming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
The Archers big man was one of the biggest omissions from the official 12-man final roster released by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the Southeast Asian Games, joining pro-bound players Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, and Raymond Almazan.
Contrary to claims on social media networks and sports forums, Van Opstal said he has no problem with his eligibility after the SEA Games adopted Fiba-Asia rules requiring players to be holders of passports of the countries they represent by the time they turn 16.
Van Opstal said his mom in fact works at the Department of Foreign Affairs and is therefore very much aware of the rules.
"There's no problem (with my eiligibility)," Van Opstal told Spin.ph.
Instead, the vastly improved big man, who is being eyed as the chief back-up of naturalized player Marcus Douthit in the undersized Philippine team, said he has yet to be given the go-ahead by the school since he has already missed a lot of classes during the UAAP men’s basketball season.
The SEA Games basketball competition is scheduled on December 8-16 at the Zayar Thiri Indoor Stadium, playdates which Van Opstal noted actually falls on the academic finals examination of La Salle.
“I’m gonna be missing finals week and the week before. I’ve already missed a lot of class due to the (UAAP) season,” Van Opstal said.
Nonetheless, Van Opstal is hopeful that he can still join the team, saying Uichico has agreed to insert him in the PH team roster if and when La Salle eventually allows him to take part in the biennial meet.
“He (Uichico) said he will just include me when things are sure. But for now, he won’t until I get approval (from La Salle),” said the Fil-German player.
Van Opstal churned out impressive numbers of 12.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks during the UAAP Finals which saw La Salle beat UST, 2-1.