The San Beda Red Lions and Lyceum Pirates have yet to clash in the upcoming NCAA Finals but a huge development will certainly change the complexion of the titanic matchup.
Star forward CJ Perez of Lyceum will be forced to sit out Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday after failing to notify the NCAA of his application to the 2018 PBA Draft. This development was first reported by Rick Olivares of the Philippine Star.
LPU head coach Topex Robinson and Management Committee representative Herc Callanta both confirmed that Perez has been suspended.
"I can't control that," Robinson said in Filipino. "I'm here to win a championship, I'm gonna focus my 100 percent tomorrow."
It is league protocol that a player with the intention of drafting should first inform the league management committee. Perez, who was born in Hong Kong, applied early for the PBA Draft after being classified as a Filipino-Foreigner. Unfortunately, the attempt to submit the application before the Fil-Foreigner deadline last October 29 could prove costly for the Pangasinan native.
Perez, last year's league MVP, remains a vital piece in Lyceum's quest to win an NCAA title. The do-it-all forward is posting averages of 18.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.3 steals. Without his presence, it will be an uphill climb for the Pirates who will try to take down the defending champions Red Lions.
Lyceum later appealed the suspension, but the league's policy board turned it down in a resolution released late Monday.
"Mr. Jaymar Perez, a player from the seniors basketball team of Lyceum of the Philippines University, was meted with a one-game suspension for failing to inform NCAA that he applied for the PBA draft," the league said in a statement sent to the media. "Under the NCAA rules, 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.
"In this case, Perez only informed NCAA of his application days after he submitted the same to PBA, and after the same was already the subject of numerous news reports. Thus, Perez is suspended for one game or on the scheduled game on Nov. 6, 2018."
"Finally, 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. It is in accordance with existing NCAA rules and its ultimately intended to promote the spirit of sportsmanship and discipline in the league."
Game 1 between Lyceum and San Beda tips off Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.