UAAP: Special guest license from GAB can't assure Juan GDL of UP return

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2020 01:38 PM

UP's Juan Gomez de Liano is competing for Nueva Ecija in Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, a move that may erase his remaining years of eligibility in the UAAP. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- University of the Philippines (UP) standout Juan Gomez de Liano will keep his amateur status despite playing in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, but it remains to be seen if he can play for the Fighting Maroons ever again.

Gomez de Liano received a "special guest license" from Games and Amusements Board (GAB) ahead of the President's Cup, which is currently ongoing at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna this week.

In an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, GAB chairman Baham Mitra explained that the guest license was a way for collegiate players to gain exposure and experience, while amateur sports are still not allowed under current quarantine regulations.

The Commission on Higher Education on Monday released guidelines for collegiate players and teams to resume training, but tournaments remained barred.

"Paano naman 'yung mga gustong maglaro sa pro? So upon the prodding and request of some people, naglabas po 'yung GAB ng special guest license," Mitra explained.

"So they're playing in a professional league, pero hindi po sila pros," he added.

Eric Altamirano, the commissioner of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, previously explained that Gomez de Liano -- or any other player with a special guest license -- will not lose their amateur status even if they play in a pro league.

GAB had granted professional status to Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 in July.

"We have players who are under that status," he said. "Meaning, guest sila sa pro league ng 3x3, so if they go back to their own amateur leagues, then they will still be able to play." 

In the eyes of the UAAP, however, Gomez de Liano lost his amateur status the moment he suited up for Nueva Ecija in the pioneering 3x3 league. The UAAP is not under the jurisdiction of GAB, and the league does not allow its athletes to compete in GAB-sanctioned tournaments.

It remains to be seen if the UAAP will make an exemption for Gomez de Liano since he is playing under a special guest license. 

Regardless, Mitra said they will respect the authority of the collegiate leagues, be it the UAAP or the NCAA.

"We don't want to impose on the UAAP and the NCAA, they're not under us, we respect them, we work with them, we look up to them," Mitra said.

"Pero pinapayagan maglaro ang amateur dito sa professional leagues to give them exposure," he also said. "Believe it or not, when they go back to the UAAP or the NCAA, they're gonna be better prepared, kasi nakaharap na nila 'yung mga a little older, more seasoned players."

Gomez de Liano, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year, has played three seasons for the Fighting Maroons and helped them reach the finals in Season 81. He has already announced that he will skip the upcoming UAAP season in order to focus on the Philippine national team program.