ROMUALDEZ LAUDS GILAS PILIPINAS FOR INSPIRING PINOYS
• September 7, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
LEYTE (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez, head of the House independent bloc, yesterday hailed the Gilas Pilipinas for inspiring Filipinos in their participation in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. At the same time, a senior House leader urged the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to revisit their rules governing “naturalized players” to allow former National Basketball Association (NBA) Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche and others to play in the Asia’s first play-for-pay league as local players.
“Congratulations to the entire Gilas Pilipinas for giving their best. The mere qualification to the 2014 FIBA World Cup after nearly 40 years was a very great achievement,” said Romualdez. “Filipinos are really uplifted by Gilas Pilipinas’ proud achievement. Their hard work indeed paid by beating Senegal. They could have even reversed the results of their previous games as attested by very close results. Despite their failure to beat their rivals, their performance was very remarkable and world-class.”
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, vice chairman of the House committee on justice, said Blatche should be given a chance to see action as local player after Congress passed a law declaring him a naturalized player, paving the way for him to be part of the country team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
“We passed a law for him to be a naturalized player and that would mean he is a Filipino. Why can’t he (Blatche) be allowed to play as local player in the PBA? Are PBA rules supreme than what are being passed by Congress? Maybe it is high time to revisit their rules to play in harmony with our law (naturalization of players),” explained Fariñas, bar topnotcher and member of the 12-man contingent to the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
In response, veteran professional basketball coach-turned-Pampanga Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao said PBA rules were designed to protect local players from those who acquired Filipino citizenship through naturalization in Congress.
“PBA ruling is that full blooded foreign players who acquired citizenship through naturalization are not eligible to play as locals. To allow them would be too disadvantageous to our locals who can’t match them. The consequence is baka puro naturalized na lang ang players natin. FIBA allows only one naturalized player in the national team,” said Guiao, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters head coach in the PBA, explained.
Congress granted Filipino citizenship to Blatche, a six-foot-11-inch center who played eight years for NBA. He ranks 13th in the league in terms of player efficiency rating (21.9) and in offensive rebounding percentage (12.2).