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FIBA open to change eligibility rules with careful study, says exec
FIBA says it is open to changing the eligibility rules that affect Fil-Foreigners like Chanelle Molina (L) and Jordan Clarkson when it comes to being available for Gilas Pilipinas
Indiana Fever/FILE

FIBA open to change eligibility rules with careful study, says exec

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - June 6, 2021 - 11:37am

MANILA, Philippines — “Does this change help in developing basketball worldwide? Does this change help improve basketball on a national level?”

These were the questions presented by Fiba Asia executive director Hagop Khajirian when asked on controversial eligibility rules on dual citizens.

According to Khajirian, these need to be looked into first before making any changes to rules that have long haunted the Gilas program — including the “passport rule” where Fil-Foreign players like Remy Martin, Jordan Clarkson, among others, would need to have a Philippine passport by age 16 to be considered a “local” for the national team.

“We are open for any change of rules if the proposal or logic presented can help in developing basketball worldwide,” Khajirian said during Noli Eala’s Power & Play on Saturday.

The Fiba exec says that the federation must look into the proposals as a whole, rather than just individual cases like those the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas have long been fighting for.

Apart from just benefitting the Philippines, Fiba must see if it will grow the sport for everyone everywhere.

“Even if there are proposals to study the cases and the possibility of increasing the number of naturalized players in any national team, we have to take into consideration: Does this change help in developing basketball worldwide? Does this change help improve basketball on a national level?” Khajirian said.

“So these are our concerns and not individual cases if we can do this or do that,” he added.

SBP has long been championing the case for Fil-Foreigners that they say should be considered local simply according to their lineage.

The rule has kept the future of the likes of Clarkson, Martin, and even Gilas women prospects Vanessa de Jesus, and Chanelle Molina, questionable when it comes to Fiba-sanctioned events.

Khajirian maintains, however, that the questions presented must be answered for everyone — if the basketball world will benefit from it as a whole.

“I am sure that even in the Philippines, when you are ready to make any changes within your local rules, we take into consideration what is good for the basketball in the Philippines. It's the same approach you will see in Fiba,” he said.

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