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UST to lose more players over UAAP age rule?

MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas might have ended their men’s basketball campaign with one win in 14 matches, but the school and its supporters believe that the Growling Tigers have tremendous potential in the coming season.

The team will still have center Steve Akomo, guards Marvin Lee, Jordan Sta. Ana and Oliver De Guzman, and forwards Jorem Soriano and Christian Garcia. UST only stands to lose center Jeepy Faundo.

Or are there more?

If the current UAAP eligibility rule that states a player cannot be of 25 years of age during the entire UAAP season will be upheld, then Regie Boy Basibas and Joco Macasaet, who were all born in 1994, might not be able to suit up as well. That could possibly hurt the Growling Tigers, who are in dire need of ready veterans as they rebuild.

Basibas averaged 8.7 points and 4.1 rebounds an outing with a high of 23 points. Macasaet, for his part, normed 2.3 points and 2.8 boards for the Growling Tigers.

Earlier during this ongoing Season 80, University of the Philippines cager Robert Ricafort challenged the rule and through his lawyers, filed a Temporary Restraining Order that allowed him to play for 20 days. The judge who presided over the case conducted a marathon session soon, after which it was deemed that Ricafort could play for the rest of UP’s campaign.

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The Fighting Maroons finished the year on a bittersweet note as they were unable to forge a playoff for the fourth and last Final Four slot despite defeating National University in their final elimination round match. FEU upset Adamson and rendered UP’s triumph over NU non-bearing due to the Tamaraws’ superior win-loss record.

According to UST sources, Basibas was born in January 1994 while Macasaet’s month of birth is in May. That means both will turn 25 in 2019 respectively at least two months after the men’s basketball tournament Season 81 will finish but technically will still be within the academic-athletic calendar of the UAAP.

Have other collegiate leagues wrestled with this age-eligibility problem?

Over at NAASCU which also has the same age rule, during the midst of the 2008 season, then defending champions STI lost star forward Mike Cabangon after the 16th match of their campaign with six more games to be played. Said then STI head coach Vic Ycasiano back then, “I’d rather have Mike for 2/3 of the season rather than not have him at all.”

Philstar.com tried to get in touch with UAAP officials for comment but was told that the rule will be discussed.

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