The Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates will be missing their star player CJ Perez when they face defending champions San Beda Red Lions during Game One of the Best of three Finals Series of the NCAA Season 94 Men’s Basketball tournament.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of the Philippines slapped a one-game suspension against Perez for his failure to inform the collegiate league of his application to the rookie draft of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Perez, the reigning most valuable player of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, applied for the 2018 PBA rookie draft on October 29 due to being classified as Fil – foreigner by the professional league.
Local players have until Dec. 3 to submit their applications for the rookie draft.
The LPU appealed for the NCAA policy board to reverse the decision of the league’s management committee. However, the board denied the appeal of the university and upheld the decision of the committee that Perez violated the rules of the NCAA.
In a statement, the NCAA stressed that league rules state that ‘a student athlete must inform the NCAA in writing of his intention to apply for draft in any professional league prior to submitting the said application’.
The NCAA also said that Perez only informed the league of his application ‘days after he submitted the same to PBA, and after the same was already the subject of numerous news reports’.
“It should be stressed that the NCAA’s action on this incident was made after carefully considering the best interest of the league and the student athletes,” NCAA chairperson Frank Gusi said in the statement.
“It is in accordance with existing NCAA rules and its ultimately intended to promote the spirit of sportsmanship and discipline in the league,” Gusi added.
Perez, who averages 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.3 steals per game, will be serving his suspension during the opener of the Finals on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.
Prior to Perez, Yousef Al Jamal of San Beda in 2007, and Leo Najorda of San Sebastian 2005 also received suspensions from the NCAA due to applying for the PBA draft without informing the collegiate league.
However, only Najorda served his suspension since San Beda secured a temporary restraining order against the three game suspension meted against Al Jamal.