ORGANIZERS of the Shakey’s V-League on Friday clarified that the contentious rule on changing guest players prior to the semifinals has long been in place in the league.
Commissioner Tony Boy Liao said replacing guest players before the Final Four has been allowed since the start of the 10-year-old league, a rule patterned after the by-laws of the Philippine Basketball Association.
“This (rule) has been adopted in case the team wants to improve its level of play in the tournament. Just like (changing) an import in the PBA,” said Liao.
Two-time defending champion Ateneo was one of the teams that took advantage of the rule before the semifinals of the First Conference, tapping the services of Jeng Bualee from San Sebastian to replace Aerial Patnongon.
Bualee, the two-time league MVP, played a huge role in the Lady Eagles’ two-game sweep of six-time champion University of Santo Tomas in the semifinals, paving the way for the Katipunan-based team's return to the Finals.
The rule, however, has come under fire from UST stalwart Denise Tan, who ranted about it on the social networking site Twitter hours after the Tigresses were booted out of contention by the Lady Eagles.
“No relation to UST losing and all, but I think the rule that allows the teams to trade guest players, is just total (expletive),” Tan wrote on her account @_denisetan.
Tan however, clarified she is not criticizing the move of Ateneo, but the league rule per se of allowing teams to change guest players deep into the playoffs.
“If Ateneo wins the championship though, I'd be really happy for Jang Bualee!” she said.
“To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember if UST did the same thing before. Regardless, if they did, it still doesn’t change my opinion about it.
“It's unfair that people are saying that it's a desperate move for ADMU. All I’m saying is that I really think it's a stupid rule. That's it!” wrote Tan, who, ironically, is also one of the talents in the league's television broadcast.
But Liao pointed out that teams have been changing guest players in the past, noting that Bualee and Suzanne Roces were tapped by Perpetual Help and UST, respectively, in the middle of their campaigns.
“This has been done by a lot of teams. They are also allowed to be replaced during the semis due to injury,” Liao said.
Liao refused to comment on Tan’s Twitter rants.
“That’s her opinion,” said the commissioner.