Monday, September 11, 2017

Repost: #DontRobRob: A Young Athlete’s Battle for His Career

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The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons was dealt a huge blow when rookie Rob Ricafort was deemed ineligible by the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Board of Trustees (BOT) to compete in Season 80.

Ricafort, 24, was disqualified due to the UAAP’s age limit rule which is set at 25 years of age. The 6’2 high-flyer isn’t set to turn 25 until January next year.

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The BOT’s decision to disqualify Ricafort comes days before UP’s opening match-up against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers on September 10.

The 24 year-old cager has been training with the Fighting Maroons for more than a year now. Ricafort has also been travelling and competing with the squad in the various pocket tournaments UP has been a part of.

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The decision comes as a surprise due to two reasons. First, Ricafort does not turn 25 until January which is already deep in the UAAP season. He is entering Season 80 as a 24 year-old. Second, UST’s Jamil Sheriff and Louie Vigil were both 25 years of age when Season 79 began last year. Both players were given last-minute green lights to suit up for the Growling Tigers.

News reports have indicated that Sheriff and Vigil were given the go signal as these two players were “returning athletes” meaning that they have previously suited up for UST prior to last season. Ricafort, on the other hand, will be making his debut in the UAAP in Season 80 which the BOT cited as a reason for the disqualification.


The BOT’s decision has caused an uproar on social media, with tweets campaigning for the reconsideration of the decision. Members of the UP community have expressed their support for their fellow Fighting Maroon in this challenging time.

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Even players of rival UAAP schools such as Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo have expressed solidarity with Ricafort.

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Fil-Am Philippine Basketball Association players have also chimed in, throwing support at their fellow Fil-Am cager.

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UP has already filed a petition for the reconsideration of Ricafort’s case on the eve of the BOT recently overturning their ruling on fellow Fighting Maroon Ibrahim Ouatta and Steve Akomo of UST. The UP brass is expecting that Ricafort will be eligible to play as early as the team’s opening match.

Ricafort is expected to make an immediate impact in the Fighting Maroons’ bid for Season 80. With his athleticism, Ricafort can contribute significantly on both sides of the floor.

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Rob Ricafort’s case is both old and new. There have been countless players in the past whose careers have been derailed all because of the UAAP’s strict eligibility rules. Young athletes who have been denied the opportunity to showcase their skills and play the sports they dearly love.

Ricafort’s case, if it ultimately does not get overturned, will be a bitter reminder of collegiate sports politics. Whether we like it or not, politics will always play a part even in an avenue where amateur talent should be reigning supreme.

The fate of Rob Ricafort lies in the hands of a couple of members of the board. What do these people in high places know about the story of each athlete? Yes, rules and regulations are important as these set everyone on equal footing, but when a bunch of words are seemingly much more important than a young man’s career and ultimately his life, I think it’s time to re-evaluate our values and beliefs.

Let him compete with the best of Philippine collegiate basketball.

Let him wow the crowds with his dunks and athleticism.

Let him make sense of all the sacrifices he’s made for the game he loves.

Let him win the hearts of the UP fateful and all UAAP fans with his heart and hustle.

Let the man play.



  1. Baka naman may na discover silang proof na over age na talaga yan.

    1. No! UAAP Board ay sobrang biased :(

  2. Uy, si Juan Gomez!

  3. Anu meron?? Kasalanan nya yan bakit kung kelan 24 na siya tsaka pa lang siya nag UAAP. Sa NBA nga ang ganyan age VETERAN players na nila samantalang dito pinas ay college player pa lang.



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