Days before the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball tournament opened its curtains, FEU’s one-and-done big man Emman Ojuola was declared ineligible for the season.
And it was not because he was barred from joining the league. It was because of a technicality.
“According to the rules, in the case of Ojuola, hindi siya makakalaro. But then again, the board realized that we should realign with the high school situation. For as long as the player has attended at least one full academic year and graduated in the Philippines, even if he’s a foreigner, he can play agad,” explained UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag.
“The direction of the league is to align it in the case of Angelo Kouame. If you’re a foreign student-athlete and you have graduated in the Philippines and have attended one full academic year here, wala ka nang redshirt. But again, that’s moving forward.”
Still, the Nigerian student-athlete sees this as the higher being’s way of helping him acclimate more with the Manila-style of play.
“That’s what they have been telling me — that it’s a blessing in disguise. I’m thinking about the positive aspect of this, learning more and improving more,” he said.
“I really think it’s a blessing.”
“We spoke after the news broke out that I won’t be getting to play. I told him that this is his chance. I also said to him that he should not think of me. He should think about playing for FEU,” said the soft-spoken center.
“He should put himself in a position that after this year, he will still get to play. So, he needs to be confident and believe in himself.”
Come the Season 83 tournament, Ojuola can’t wait to finally don FEU’s green and gold. But for now, he looks to learn more about FEU’s ‘Be Brave’ culture.
“Hopefully, by the grace of God I can. I’m still with the team and with the school. I’m taking this time to learn more.”