Foreign reinforcement in the UAAP: good or bad?

by TJ Manotoc for the UAAP Magazine

Posted at Oct 29 2012 05:39 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2012 09:50 PM

Is the entry of foreign players good or bad for the UAAP?

The first time local college hoops really took notice of a team's foreign player presence was arguably in 2006, when San Beda debuted Sam Ekwe and romped away with titles in the NCAA.

Back then, Ekwe's inside dominance was key to helping the talented cast of players of the Red Lions dominate the competition.

With the local sports scene taking notice, it was only a matter of time before we saw big athletic centers like Ekwe make their way into the UAAP, especially to reinforce "weaker" teams that were struggling to book a ticket to the Final Four.

Today, we now see five out of eight teams have employed this "strategy" to help bolster their competitiveness in the league in recent years.

UP has Alink Mbah, NU has Emmanuel Mbe and Henri Betayene, UST has Karim Abdul, FEU has Anthony Hargrove and Christian Sentcheu - -and had Pipo Nuondu, while Adamson had Austin Manyara.

That makes six foreign (Mbah, Mbe, Betayene, Abdul, Hargrove and Sentcheu) players currently active in the UAAP. Out of those six, in the first round alone, there are three in the top 10 of the MVP statistical race.

If you hear their respective stories of how they came here, it's one for the books or the movies. Some fairy-tale dreams come true for Africans to get a free English college education, while playing -- and sometimes learning along the way -- the game of basketball.

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