|Alyssa Valdez (L) and Gretchen Ho of the Ateneo women's volleyball team take part in a rehearsal for the game show "Minute To Win It" on March 12, 2013. Photo by Michael Bagtas for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo volleyball stars Gretchen Ho and Alyssa Valdez both disagree with a controversial new UAAP rule that mandates high school transferees to undergo a two-year residency period.
But while Valdez says UAAP athletes and fans have no choice but to comply with the new rule, Ho refuses to give up the fight.
“Sayang din ‘yung dalawang taon eh,” Valdez told ABS-CBNnews.com in an exclusive interview following a rehearsal for the game show “Minute to Win It” on Tuesday.
“For me, sayang ‘yung mga opportunities na binibigay ng ibang school for the students,” she added.
Valdez said she understands why the UAAP board would choose to implement the new rule, which requires high school athletes of a UAAP-member school to sit out two years if he/she chooses to transfer to a different UAAP school for college.
“Kasi siyempre, sayang din ‘yung mga binuild nila na players, tapos lilipat lang din ng school,” said Valdez, who sat out one year after transferring from the University of Sto. Tomas to Ateneo.
“Pero at the same time, kailangan din natin i-consider ‘yung iba. Kunwari ang Ateneo, wala naman silang (high school for girls),” she pointed out. “Conflict din kasi.”
Ho, who wrapped up her five-year UAAP career with Ateneo recently, was more forceful in her disagreement with the new rule.
“On Twitter, sabi ko, the new UAAP rule serves the institution more than the students, pero dapat ‘yung athletics is supposed to be for the development of the students above all, di ba?” Ho said.
“So iisipin mo, bakit nagdesisyon ng ganoon ‘yung board members? Is to protect their school? Pero bakit ba tayo nagtatayo ng team? Kasi gusto mo, ‘yung players mo, makuha nila ‘yung discipline ng sport, makakuha sila ng scholarship, matupad mo ‘yung mga pangarap nila,” she added. “When you do that, what do you protect? Just your school.”
Ho also said the new rule curtails a student-athlete’s freedom of choice.
“Unfair eh, kasi choice ng bata kung saan siya pupunta. Siguro kung galing ka ng college to (another) college, two years doon pwede. Pero kung high school to college – parang na-limit mo ‘yung options ng bata,” she said.
While Valdez is not a fan of the new UAAP rule, she said the student-athletes will have no choice but to comply.
“Andyan na ‘yan, tanggapin na rin natin,” she said. “Siguro, in the long run, may positive outcome naman.”
“Wala tayong pwedeng sabihin, kasi we’re just students na playing, student athletes. Kung ganoon na ‘yung rule nila, we don’t have a choice,” she added. “As of now, may brighter side naman siguro.”
But Ho is not giving up hope and is counting on Sen. Pia Cayetano to help their cause.
“Si Senator Pia, marami siyang magagawa. What she’s doing right now, I think, will make a difference,” said Ho.
Cayetano on March 8 published an open letter to the UAAP on her personal blog, asking: “What is the two-year residency requirement for other than to curtail the freedom of the young athlete to choose the college where he wants to study and play?”
Cayetano also pointed out that the new rule violates the Constitution.
“It goes against the Constitutional mandate to promote sports especially among our youth, and is an unreasonable limit on an athlete’s freedom of choice as well as academic freedom to choose which college to enter into,” she said.
Ho also believes that if more people speak out against the new rule, the UAAP board will have no choice but to reconsider.
“If people continue to speak out against it, siguro hindi nila hahayaan na ganoon lang,” she said.
Ho and Valdez joined a long list of UAAP athletes who have spoken out against the new rule, which also includes fellow Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena.