MANILA -- Having naturalized players in the Gilas Pilipinas pool will help it reach greater heights in international competitions like the FIBA World Basketball Cup, said a sports analyst.
ANC Hardball anchor Boyet Sison said that despite Filipinos' remarkable basketball talent, they aren’t gifted with superior height.
“All things being equal, siguro pwede tayong lumaban at pwede nating sabihin ay pwede tayong lumanding sa Top 10 or even the championship,” Sison said in an interview with ABS-CBN's TJ Manotoc on the sports news program, The Score.
“Pero ang katotohanan nito ay hindi tayo nabiyayaan ng ganoong katatangkad na tao.”
This is why the proposed naturalization of Denver Nuggets’ Javale McGee and Brooklyn Nets’ Andray Blatche will help Gilas a lot in the FIBA Worlds.
Sison said the presence of either McGee or Blatche in Gilas Pilipinas’ roster will add height to the nationals. He said these players will be useful against taller and stronger teams.
The 26-year-old McGee is a defensive specialist with the second highest number of blocked shots (193) in the NBA in 2010-2011. He stands 7-feet tall.
The 6-foot-11 Blatche, on the other hand, boasts of an offensive rebounding percentage of 12.2%.
“Kung mangyari nga yan (naturalization), magkakaroon tayo ng mas mataas na tsansa upang lumaban sa ating grupo,” said Sison, referring to the Philippines' group mates Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno has filed House Bills 3784 and 3783 to start the ball rolling for the naturalization of the two NBA players.
However, Manotoc said Congress will have to speed up the process if it wants to include either player to Gilas’ pool as the FIBA Worlds will begin on August 30.
He said it took Gilas center Marcus Douthit years before he was naturalized.
“Baka huli na ang panahon para maipasa ang bill. Kasi 'di ba 'yung kay Marcus Douthit, matagal 'yun eh... taon ang inabot,” said Manotoc.
“Tingnan natin kung maintindihan ng Kongreso na nagmamadali po tayo... ang tanong is kung kaya nilang iprioritize [ang bill]."