GAB urged to scrap licenses of cagers who refused to join Gilas
MANILA, Philippines — Should Barangay Ginebra’s prized rookie center Greg Slaughter and San Miguel Beer athletic wingman Marcio Lassiter be stripped of their licenses to play in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for turning down an invitation to join the Gilas Pilipinas national team for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Korea?
The head of the House committee on games and amusement, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, thinks so.
“The Games and Amusement Board (GAB) should not issue license to play to those PBA players who were selected to play for the Philippine team but refused to join and play invoking flimsy reasons. On account of their popularity and glamorous standing, there are some PBA players who conveniently forget service to country like carrying the Philippine colors in the forthcoming FIBA championship in Spain scheduled in August this year,” said Barzaga in a text message. “They should be reminded that professional basketball is subject to regulation by the state and disservice to the country would be a valid ground for the government not to issue a license to them to play in the PBA.”
Both Slaughter and Lassiter, who have played for the Gilas team under former coah Raiko Toroman even before they entered the PBA, claimed that they did not want to ease out the core players of the team, which finished second to Iran in the FIBA Asia Championship held in the country last year.
“I’m just here to say that I’m not joining Gilas. I’m very honored to be selected for that, but for the past four years of experience there, I know the feeling of new people coming in on something you have started, and having that pressure of not knowing the roster spots,” said the 6-foot-11 center from Cebu.
“To me personally, it was so hard for me to take away from the players who deserve it, to the guys who actually played there. They’ve been through the battles and the wars and a lot of them deserve it, and I feel like they have some unfinished business in Spain. If I’m in the same position as them and someone will take away my spot, it’ll be hard to give up something that is rightfully theirs, so that’s the reason why I’m withdrawing my name from the pool,” said Lassiter, a Filipino-American.
Their decision to quit the 17-member training pool for the Gilas Pilipinas team has triggered speculation that the owner of their professional clubs, San Miguel Corp., had a hand in their withdrawal not only because it could affect their respective club’s chances in the PBA but also because the Gilas team was being bankrolled by corporate rival Metro Pacific group.
But Lassiter was quick to douse these speculations as mere rumors. “This isn’t a management decision. This is a personal thing. I want to say it on record that SMC does not have any decision on this. This is more of a personal decision. I feel being a part of Gilas 1, I’ve experienced it and I know what it takes. Its just the time for it wasn’t there,” said Lassiter who also revealed that a nagging back injury also played into his decision to forego his chance to play with the world’s best in Spain.
But Barzaga was insistent that PBA clubs should not dictate who should and should not play for the national team. “All PBA players are required to renew their licenses every year with the GAB. I believe that the GAB has to use its licensing power to promote national interest,” said Barzaga.