Imports get benefits that are not given to Filipinos, says Nathanielsz
MANILA – The acquisition of foreign imports has become a continuing trend in local collegiate basketball.
Although it helps make the UAAP and NCAA basketball games more exciting, sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said allowing too many imports to play in collegiate leagues is harmful to Philippine basketball.
“These players come here not to study unlike in the US. Here, they come here to play basketball, obviously. They play and when they finish their career, they go home, so what does the Philippines get out of it?” Nathanielsz said in ANC’s Headstart.
He added that imports in collegiate teams rob locals of playing time, depriving Filipinos of the opportunity to further develop their skills.
Some of the collegiate teams which have used imports are San Beda, University of Sto. Tomas, University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University and the National University.
“In fact, with two imports, two foreign players in each collegiate team, the locals are shunted, they're put aside, they don't get a chance to develop, so how could Philippine basketball improve?” said Nathanielsz.
“They may get some technology transfer but that's small compared to overall disadvantages for Filipino youngsters.”
Nathanielsz also said foreign players get certain benefits unavailable to their local counterparts.
“It's only the richer colleges that can afford to bring in these players, because they're getting paid, they're getting all sorts of benefits which are not given to the locals, that's unfair,” he said.
However, he said the Samahang Basketbolista ng Pilipinas (SBP) doesn't have enough authority to regulate the entry of imports.
He said the responsibility lies in the hands of the colleges that bring in the foreign players.
“We must appeal to the good sense and the nationalistic inclinations of those who run the schools,” said Nathanielsz.
He also admitted that not all imports play for collegiate leagues for money.
Nathanielsz cited the case of Ateneo’s Kirk Long, a full-blooded American who resides in the Philippines.
“He's played in collegiate, I will always ask the PBA to allow players of that nature, who lived here, to make an exception and to allow him to play in the league.”