Dov Cariño, who recently represented the Philippine Under 22 Men's National Team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, has been ruled out of the big clash against Far Eastern University which takes place on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
"Regarding Dov, to be frank with you, Ateneo has academic rules. Dov will not play in the final," said Blue Eagles coach JP Merida after their 2-0 win over University of Santo Tomas in the semifinals.
Cariño last played for the Katipunan school on April 13 during their 1-0 win over FEU. He was then listed as not playing in the remaining elimination round matches against University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, and De La Salle University, as well as the Final Four clash against UST last Thursday.
While he was absent from UAAP action, the British International School Phuket alumnus represented the Azkals U22 side, which finished last in Group A during the 32nd SEA Games.
He provided the campaign's highlight by scoring a last-minute header against host nation Cambodia, which was the only point gained by Rob Gier's squad.
"We made a decision about Dov and what could be done. If he goes for the national team, it's possible that he cannot play in the remaining UAAP games," said Merida, who also took into account the probability of the Azkals U22 making it out of the group stage.
"Yes, but it's not just that. On the other hand, it's about his academics. We had an agreement with Dov Cariño. He knew about it before he went to the SEA Games in Cambodia."
Ateneo will seek to win their ninth overall championship against FEU next despite Cariño's absence. The Blue Eagles aim to continue their dominance over the Tamaraws this season, having emerged victorious on February 26 and April 13.