'More harm than good': Foreign student-athletes still banned from NCAA

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2020 04:58 PM

San Beda center Donald Tankoua attempts a lay-up against Lyceum's Mike Nzeusseu in this file photo. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- The NCAA is standing by its decision to disallow foreign student-athletes from playing in the league, with Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Colegio de San Juan de Letran insisting they have done "more harm than good."

The league decided in 2018, ahead of its 94th season, to ban foreign student-athletes across all sports starting Season 96. The rule would take effect in the upcoming season, which will start in early 2021.

2019 marked the last year that foreign student-athletes saw action in the NCAA. Donald Tankoua of San Beda University was recognized as the Best Foreign Player after the men's basketball tournament as he helped the Red Lions to an unbeaten elimination round campaign and a finals berth, where they lost to the Letran Knights.

"At the moment, majority of the NCAA schools agree na mas maraming negative na nadudulot 'yung presence ng import," Calvo said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning.

"We realized na 'yung presence ng mga foreign players, as of the moment, has done more harm than good sa basketball," he added.

Peter Cayco of Arellano University, the Season 95 host, made it clear that the league is grateful for the foreign student-athletes' contribution to the league.

Several former NCAA stars, including Letran alumnus Raymond Almazan, have credited their battles against "imports" for preparing them for their future professional careers.

"Don't get us wrong, we'd like to thank the foreign players for being able to train and teach Filipino guys how to play against bigger and heftier foreign players," said Cayco. "We thank them for that."

However, "majority supports the idea of having all Filipinos," Cayco also said.

Both NCAA officials stressed that this rule can change in the future. According to Calvo, should the Policy Board want to amend the rule, they can sponsor a resolution and elevate it.

"Kung babalik, pwede. Depende, botohan naman 'yan. Democratic association ang NCAA," he said. 

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