Why foreign student-athletes make collegiate leagues better
Adamson Head Coach Franz Pumaren
Why foreign student-athletes make collegiate leagues better
Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - August 5, 2020 - 3:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — The NCAA is standing by its decision to ban foreign student-athletes (FSAs) once it is safe to return to play for collegiate leagues amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But for five-time UAAP champion coach Franz Pumaren, this rule change will do more harm than good to the league's overall competition and play.

"For me it's good eh. I was surprised nga how come, of course it's the decision of the board of NCAA why did they remove it," Pumaren said of FSAs during the recent episode of Tiebreaker Vods' Coaches Unfiltered.

"Kasi ako... if I'm a small school compared to the other big schools in the NCAA, the only way for me to compete is to get an import. At least kahit papano you can compete with them," he said.

Pumaren, who coached the DLSU Green Archers to UAAP titles in 1998 to 2001 then again in 2007, believe that having FSAs play with local players helps improve Filipino cagers.

"It's a good training ground din for the local players... It improves the quality of the game and it improves the level of competition, [and] at the same time yung local players it improves their skills," he said.

However, the multi-titled head coach believes that FSAs should be in a different category when deciding on individual awards in collegiate leagues.

"I proposed this already to our board representative, dapat sa UAAP hindi nagiging MVP ang import," Pumaren said.

"They should be classified as best student-athlete, kaya nga we call them imports eh, they are bigger, stronger, more athletic so lamang na sila kaagad," he added.

The Adamson Falcons mentor said that there were a lot of local players like La Salle's Jeron Teng and Ateneo's Thirdy Ravena who were well-deserving of the MVP award but would lose the race against FSAs.

While Pumaren acknowledged rule changes may be made when it comes to FSAs, the tactician made it clear that a total ban on foreign players is not the right way to go.

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