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MANILA, Philippines – Veteran guard Dan Alberto has been ruled ineligible to play for University of the East in the upcoming UAAP Season 78, UAAP Board Member Rod Roque told Rappler Tuesday, August 18.
The UAAP Board arrived at the decision after a vote during their meeting on Monday, August 17.
Roque, also the PE Director for UE, explained Alberto was not allowed to play out what would have been his final year for the Red Warriors because he maxed out his playing years when counting the two years he played for Our Lady of Fatima University right after high school under the National Athletics Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities or NAASCU.
Fresh off of high school, the then 17-year old Alberto played for Fatima University's juniors team in his first year of college.
NAASCU rules, according to Roque, allow students under 19 years old to play for the juniors division given they enroll in at least 15 units. Alberto then played his second year in college for Fatima's seniors team before transferring to UE and taking residency for a year.
Despite appeals from Roque that Alberto's time with the juniors division at NAASCU was not on a collegiate level and that NAASCU rules are different from the UAAP, the Board still included that one playing year Alberto spent in the juniors division, citing he had already graduated from high school when he played both years.
Counting his two years time with Fatima, Alberto would have been playing his 6th year this coming UAAP season. Students are only allowed a maximum of 5 playing years in the UAAP.
"His loss is a big blow for us. He's one of the guys that will take the lead for us this season," said UE head coach Derrick Pumaren, whose team now tips the scale with 9 rookies and 7 veterans from an equal ratio of 8 rookies to 8 veterans.
Rookie Jason Varilla was added in place of the 5-foot-10 Alberto.
Alberto, who Rappler saw was hard at training as the Board conducted their meeting Monday, was said to be saddened over the news according to Roque.
"Siyempre malungkot pero sabi ko nga pag may pintong nagsara, may bagong bubukas. So move on na," said Roque.
(Of course he's sad but I told him when one door closes, another opens. So he has to move on.)
Alberto, 22, was initially named co-captain for the Red Warriors this season with fifth year center Chris Javier as captain.
Alberto was supposed to step up from a supporting role in the previous seasons to a key player for the all-Filipino UE line-up that will bank on its speed this year.
"I'll just give my best in every game," he told Rappler before his ineligibility was announced.
"Sa akin hina-handle ko na lang yung frustrations as blessings for me e," he added, talking about UE's struggles the past years. "For me yung mga sufferings na ganoon and frustrations, mas nabui-build yung character ko and perseverance."
(For me I just handle the frustrations as blessings for me. For me those sufferings and frustrations only build my character and perseverance.)
During the same Board meeting, the UAAP also ruled out La Salle big man Ben Mbala for a violation of league rules for players serving residency when he played in an exhibition game in General Santos City last December 2014. – Rappler.com