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Ricafort gets green light to suit up for Maroons

Rob Ricafort of University of the Philippines | Instagram Image/Rob Ricafort

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines can now heave a sigh of relief after a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Friday allowing Rob Ricafort to play in ongoing UAAP season.

The latest turn of events, which was bared by head coach Bo Perasol, came just in time as the Fighting Maroons are about to take on a complete De La Salle University Green Archers side in this Saturday’s basketball action at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 24-year-old Ricafort was deemed ineligible by the UAAP Eligibility Committee for exceeding the maximum age limitation. This year is his only playing year left as he is only turning 25 next January, long after the basketball season had wrapped up.

"If you know his personal story, you will understand that this is no longer just about ball for him; this is about his life,” Perasol said in a statement first published in Ikot.PH. “Rob took great lengths to assert his rights. The court has spoken. Nobody has the power to deny him that right which the court has protected.”

Ricafort has had an episode of substance abuse, which he has long put behind him. The game of basketball figured as a second lease of life for him.

“As his coach, the least I could do is to help him get back up, after stumbling in life many times over in the past,” Perasol noted. "Rob Ricafort chose to fight for a chance, for a change.”

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"Playing in the UAAP was his dream. Now it will come true,” the second-year Maroons head coach said.

Ricafort’s entry also completes a Fighting Maroon roster that was initially reduced to a skeletal crew after Mali import Ibrahim Ouattara was ruled ineligible earlier in September due to residency issues. He was eventually cleared to play a couple of days later.

UP-DLSU tips off at 4 p.m. — Denison Rey A. Dalupang

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