SBP still discussing eligibility issues with FIBA

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2021 02:27 PM

SBP still discussing eligibility issues with FIBA 1

MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is not losing hope that FIBA will one day ease its eligibility rules that has kept some of the best Filipino-foreign players from suiting up for the national team.

FIBA's rules on eligibility require players to obtain a passport before the age of 16 in order to suit up as a "local" for their respective national team.

This has prevented players like Stanley Pringle, Chris Ross, and Christian Standhardinger from playing as locals in FIBA tournaments. Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz, too, is affected by this rule, although he received an exemption that allowed him to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

Pringle and Standhardinger, for their part, have suited up for Gilas as naturalized players despite their Filipino lineage.

"We're working very hard on that," SBP president Al Panlilio told former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on his "Power and Play" program.

"I think Sec-Gen Andreas (FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis) is very aware of that issue with us," he added.

Panlilio said that while they have not made any formal communication, at least in recent times, Zagklis "knows the issues that we've been bringing to the table."

Even if Zagklis is sympathetic to their cause, Panlilio pointed out that the eligibility issue goes far beyond the Philippines and is a complex matter that "needs a lot of discussion with FIBA." The rule, Panlilio recalls, came after a country naturalized multiple players who were unable to prove their heritage.

"That's something that they (FIBA) are trying to avoid," he said.

Ultimately, the solution will have to be fair not just for SBP and the Philippines, but for the rest of the federations under their umbrella as well. 

"They're really looking at 120 countries," Panlilio said of FIBA. "They have to find a solution for an issue that happened many years ago… (but) they understand our situation."