UNIVERSITY of the Philippines Integrated School coach Allan Gregorio said on Saturday the team is ready for the repercussions of the move to field Jozhua General in their second round opener against University of Santo Tomas.
Gregorio said he intends to continue fielding General after his parents obtained a 20-day Temporary Restraining Order from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last Friday against the UAAP board's decision declaring the player ineligible for the league's junior division.
Gregorio said the least he could do was stand up for General after his parents fought for his reinstatement through the court order. He also hinted that the move to play General had the blessings of the school.
“Pinaglaban siya ng magulang niya tapos ako matatakot? I have to trust the system," Gregorio told Spin.ph after the Junior Maroons' 73-71 win over University of Santo Tomas on Saturday in a game where General finished with two points, 10 rebounds, and two assists.
"Kung sinabi ng UP na huwag ipaglaban, hindi naman namin ipaglalaban. I also have an obligation to the alumni and to the whole system,” Gregorio added.
General’s parents obtained the TRO after the board ruled last month that their son was ineligible since he had already exceeded the five-year window for junior players starting from the year of his graduation from grade school.
The UAAP based its decision on a document attesting that General graduated from Grade Six in a school in Naga City while UP claimed the player's graduation in 2010 from Lourdes School in Mandaluyong should be used as the basis instead.
The UAAP board has said that it will abide with the TRO.
The Quezon City sheriff had also issued a protection order against National University juniors assistant coach Leo Pujante, who General’s parents claim has harassed his son and was behind the protest that led to the UAAP decision.
Gregorio said that the team is ready if the final board decision will not be in their favor in the end.
“I know the repercussions … If we are going to keep winning and they (UAAP board) take it away, so be it. Ganoon talaga. But if we do (keep it), I’ll take my hats off to the board. We can all move on from this, we can all sit down, reach out, and just focus on basketball,” said Gregorio.
Gregorio said that he has reached out to the UAAP board led by secretary treasurer Malou Isip before the game.
“I do hope that it is cleared out kaysa ‘yung nagco-court battle tayo, imbis na sa basketball court tayo, merong board room, merong Quezon City court room, pangit eh. I want this to end here,” said Gregorio.