Tolentino gets positive response on mandatory national team stint law
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino is looking to make it illegal for leagues and schools to hold back athletes from suiting up for the national team.
And he said his proposal has the backing of several lawmakers.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of clamor about players who were not allowed to play for the country because the leagues or their schools refuse to release them to the national team,’’ said Tolentino, who will lobby for a law that will require schools, leagues and clubs to release their players to the national team when they are needed.
“I will be asking the incoming 19th Congress to pass a national law that will allow all stakeholders to prioritize the participation of athletes when it comes to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Asian Games and even the Olympics,’’ said Tolentino, a deputy house speaker who is serving his final term as Cavite representative.
Acquiring the services of top-shelf talent has been a common problem for national programs whose athletes have commitments to clubs or schools. In the recent SEA Games, for example, top collegiate basketball standouts were unable to suit up for the national team because of their campaigns in varsity leagues.
“I’m referring to the lending of athletes to the national team not only in basketball, but in all sports. This will be for the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines), NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and all the stakeholders in sports,’’ added the incoming Tagaytay City mayor.
Tolentino said he has brought up the subject to a number senators and representatives who showed support to his recommendation.
“This should become one of the solutions. Prioritize the flag regardless of your affiliation,’’ said Tolentino.
Once passed into law, Tolentino’s suggestion will give the national team more player options to form the best possible lineup in foreign meets without having to deal with the approval of the leagues, clubs or schools.