Menk urges PBA to review ‘very inconsistent’ Fil-foreign rules
MANILA, Philippines — PBA legend Eric Menk urged the PBA to review its draft eligibility rules when it comes to Filipino-foreign players after high-profile prospects missed out on this year’s rookie selection.
The Fil-American big man, an MVP back in 2005, said the PBA should adapt to the changing times and that revisiting the draft rules would ensure that the league would always be the hub of the best Filipino players.
“Re-examining rules to adapt to the times is something that needs to be lifted. They haven’t looked at that for over 20 years,” said Menk in an interview with former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala on Power&Play.
The PBA requires Fil-foreign players to secure the proper documents from the Department of Justice and Bureau of Immigration to prove that they are indeed of Filipino descent.
A bit harsh since the PBA already had a plethora of players who are of mixed heritage, but the league was part of not only the sporting zeitgeist but of general politics back in 1999 due to the “Fil-sham” controversy.
Sonny Alvarado, a bruising and athletic forward for Tanduay declared himself as Fil-Puerto Rican but a Senate inquiry, which PBA icon Robert Jaworski called for, found out that the 6-foot-7 University of Texas alum faked his citizenship.
This led to the PBA imposing strict requirements for Fil-foreign applicants and, two decades later, slashed the likes of Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser from the list of applicants after they failed to obtain the documents from the BI and DOJ before the deadline of applications.
It’s not just this year’s draft that was affected, obviously, and the most prominent one was in 2018 when top pick and now two-time scoring champion CJ Perez was ruled as a Fil-foreign player as he was born in Hong Kong.
Perez, despite playing for San Sebastian, Ateneo for a brief time, and Lyceum in college, was considered a Fil-foreign player in his draft class.
“If you want the PBA to flourish, if you want it to be consistent, you want it to have the best talent available for the fans, you want to have the best product to make it most attractive for the fans, how do you do that? It’s by adapting. And I’m hoping the PBA does that,” said Menk.
The case that Menk stressed was the one regarding the Ganuelas-Rosser brothers Matt and Brandon.
Matt, the older of the two, was born in the Philippines while Brandon was born in the United States.
Being birthed in the Philippines, Matt had no problems in his draft process in 2014 and he’s since enjoyed a successful career winning five championships with TNT and San Miguel.
“It’s very inconsistent and very confusing,” said Menk. “I think they should examine it because you see that have brothers that have the same parents but born in different places, so that one is eligible and the other isn’t.”
“So that’s confusing enough. And this will continue happening in the future because there’s a new generation of players coming.”