SBP: Overseas opportunities testament to PH athletes’ caliber
MANILA, Philippines — For the last several years, Filipino athletes have drawn interest from overseas teams.
This year is no different, with the likes of Filipino basketball prospects Jack Animam, Thirdy Ravena and Ken Tuffin taking their acts elsewhere.
For the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, this influx is a testament to the caliber of Filipino athletes whose skills are also at par if not better than their counterparts abroad.
“Like what I said, it’s an honor. I think we should be honored, we should be flattered that our players are being considered as imports in our region,” said SBP director for operations Butch Antonio during Tuesday’s PSA Forum.
“It only shows that we have the respect of our neighbors in other countries. They see that our players can compete and participate in their respective leagues.”
Animam, who led Gilas Pilipinas Women to a double gold in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball events in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, has been tapped as a foreign student-athlete to play for Shih Hsin University in Taiwan’s University Basketball Association.
Ravena, on the other hand, has been signed as an Asian import by Japanese Professional Basketball League ballclub SAN EN NeoPhoenix.
Tuffin, the Far Eastern U captain, meanwhile, made his debut in New Zealand National Basketball League two weeks ago.
“As they always say, if you want to improve in sports, you play against those better than you. That’s why it’s a good opportunity to play abroad where they can learn to develop their skills and talent at a different level,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said.
“As far as developing is concerned, being exposed in different kinds of basketball, at whatever level, it’s supposed to make a player better as long as they’re taking their craft seriously,” Antonio said.