NATIONAL University won't be granting Hubert Cani a release to clear the way for the former Bullpups star's stint with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the coming UAAP season, a high-ranking school official said.
Although Cani has not officially declared his intention to play for the Blue Eagles, Ateneo athletic director Ricky Palou told Spin.ph on Tuesday that he plans to sit down with NU officials next week to seek his release.
But even before the meeting could take place, a top NU official who spoke on condition of anonymity bared to Spin.ph that the school has no plan to release the talented player, who was named Finals MVP when the Bullpups won the UAAP juniors championship last year.
According to the official, it was no less than NU chairman Hans Sy who put his foot down on Cani's release.
The NU executive could only second guess the reason behind Sy's decision, saying it may have something to do with the school feeling jilted after nurturing Cani during his high school career after his move from La Salle Greenhills.
The NU official also admitted that the school did its best to convince Cani to play for the Bulldogs in college.
“We were trying to convince him and his family na dito na mag-college to continue the program but they (Cani family) still opted to Ateneo. Siguro ‘yun ang dahilan,” said the official.
“Until the very end, we tried to lure him (to NU). But they have other plans. Wala tayong magagawa. Move on na ‘yung team namin,” the official added.
Unless he is given his release by NU, Cani will be covered by the controversial two-year residency rule for high school graduates transferring from one UAAP member school to another for college.
However, Cani can play for the Blue Eagles immediately if Senate Bill 2226 or the Student-Athletes Protection Act authored by Senator Pia Cayetano, will be enacted into law just in time for the start of UAAP Season 77 on July 12.
Cayetano's bill, which has been passed on third and final reading by the Senate, will outlaw the practice of schools requiring transferees from serving residency.
The NU official admitted the school is open to a dialogue with Ateneo about Cani’s case but ultimately, it will be Sy’s decision.
“Wala namang problema kung mag-usap. We will talk pero ‘yung mga ganyang decisions, kay Mr. Hans Sy ‘yan. We will talk to him, give him both sides, and then decide,” said the school official.