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2 foreign cagers get UAAP OK

Citing fair play, the UAAP Board of Trustees overturned its initial decision and allowed a pair of foreign student-athletes to see action in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.

Cameroonian Steve Akomo of University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines’ 6-foot-9 Mali center Ibrahim Ouattara are set to make their league debut after the BOT reversed its previous decision following a board meeting held at season host Far Eastern University campus yesterday.

However, the BOT, composed of university presidents from eight school members, denied UP’s appeal on forward Rob Ricafort, who was deemed ineligible due to age limit.

Still, the big development should augur well for the title campaigns of the Fighting Maroons, considered as one of top Final Four contenders, and the Growling Tigers who are aching to redeem themselves after a disappointing campaign last year.

“We thank the UAAP BOT for its kindness and generosity. It is heartwarming to know that it has the best interests of the student-athletes in mind, despite the obviously competitive environment,” said UP Bo Perasol, who now has an inside presence who can help ease the load off top guard Paul Desiderio’s shoulders.

UST coach Boy Sablan also expressed his pleasure over what he considered as a “big morale-booster” for the Tigers. (Jerome Lagunzad)

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