Ateneo's Angelo Kouame is one of the few foreign student-athletes in Philippine college basketball.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas
Solon files bill banning foreign athletes in collegiate leagues
(Philstar.com) - September 30, 2019 - 3:30pm

MANILA, Philippines – House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero (1 Pacman Partylist) on Monday filed a bill that will stop and prohibit schools in various collegiate leagues from recruiting and using non-Filipino citizens as it denies homegrown players the opportunity to further develop their skill.

The practice of using foreign players under the guise of student-athletes, according to Romero, has become a norm in various colleges nowadays which is a total disregard to the true meaning of fair play.

In House Resolution No. 388, Romero said: “I am urging the proper committee of the House of Representatives in aid of legislation to stop and prohibit all collegiate leagues from recruiting, acquiring and using non-Filipinos as players because in effect, it stops the growth and shortchanges the development of various sports programs in the Philippines.”

By allowing foreigners to play, Romero said schools that have vast resources will have undue advantages and in doing so destroy the beautiful game of basketball.

“Lest I’ll be accused of some kind of a killjoy, I am doing this for the good of Philippine basketball. The crushing defeats we suffered in the recent FIBA World Cup has forced me to make this resolution,” said Romero who was the godfather of the Philippine basketball team that won the gold medal during the 2007 SEA Games in Ratchasima, Thailand.

“I’m not targeting any school here. All I want is to give our homegrown players the chance to improve and compete to the best of their ability,” said Romero. “Acquiring foreigners is not only counter-productive but is also more expensive to maintain a team.”

Romero also noticed that some foreign players — mostly Africans — have moved from one league to another, thus belying the notion that they came to the country to study.

“Hindi tayo nagdadamot, pero ang masakit nito ang kapwa nating Filipino ang nagiging biktima rito,” said Romero, who played for La Salle during his college days.

The lawmaker, who owns NorthPort in the PBA, said various league should find ways or create measures to prevent the proliferation of this “malpractice for the sake of homegrown athletes.

Romero, however, is happy to note that this season will be the last time “imports” in the oldest collegiate league — the NCAA — will be playing.

“These foreign players have taken away playing time from Filipino players, so kung wala ng foreign players they have to step up and deliver,” said an NCAA official.

Another NCAA official said: “Magiging level na ang playing field kapag wala ng foreign players. Isang banda, mas maraming disadvantages ang kumuha ng foreign players.

Letran and San Sebastian College are the only schools in the NCAA who don’t have the so-called imports while all teams from UAAP have their own “reinforcements”.

PBA great Allan Caidic also said that because of their height advantages, foreign players have now dominated the individual honors given each year to outstanding players.

“Iyan ang hindi maganda kapag may foreign players, they can dominate the awards given each year,’ said Caidic, who masterminded the last two championships of University of the East in 1984 and 1985.

MIKEE ROMERO UAAP
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