Perez suspended for NCAA Finals opener

MANILA — CJ Perez will not be seeing action for Lyceum in Game 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball finals on Tuesday after the league handed him a one-game suspension.

On Monday, the league’s management committee handed Perez the said sanction for failure to inform it of his application for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft.

NCAA rules state that a player turning pro must inform the league of his intent before he formally submits a draft application.

NCAA Management Committee (ManCom) chairman Frank Gusi said: “Mr. Perez only informed (the) NCAA of his application days after he submitted the same to [the] PBA.”

The Pirates still appealed the said decision to the NCAA Policy Board owing to the fact that Perez had to apply earlier than usual because he was declared a Filipino-foreigner by the PBA, something he failed to tell school officials.

“LPU was not informed. Had we been informed, LPU would have taken the initiative to make a letter to be signed by CJ to and endorsed by the ManCom Rep to inform the NCAA,” said an official, who requested anonymity.

However, the policy board upheld the ManCom’s sanction.

The development means the Pirates will be one key player down when they begin their second chance to dethrone the San Beda Red Lions as the NCAA champs in the opener of their best-of-three series at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay in a 3:30 p.m. tip-off on Tuesday.