UAAP frees up schedule for Gilas, remains unfazed by player migration
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will keep its promise to help national cause, even as its officials said there was no need to be alarmed that pro leagues from neighboring—and far richer—countries are harvesting Filipino talents, including some of the brightest college products.
Opening on Oct. 1, the UAAP said it will take a nine-day break from Nov. 7 to accommodate Gilas Pilipinas, which is eyeing at least two league standouts, for the fifth window of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“[The break is] just a small sacrifice. That’s fine. We’ll go on a break,” UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday. “[We are also] tapping the ‘studentry’ to be involved in the World Cup [preparations].”
No Clarkson, Sotto
Gilas will be playing a team far different than the one that went 1-1 in the fourth window, as Jordan Clarkson will be with Utah in the NBA and Kai Sotto in Australia with Adelaide as their respective leagues will be in full swing by then.
And that has prompted coach Chot Reyes to reportedly ask for Carl Tamayo of University of the Philippines and Kevin Quiambao of La Salle to beef up the squad that will be made up mostly of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) players and some coming from Japan.
Meanwhile, Saguisag also said that Asian countries tapping Filipinos to play as imports is an opportunity for the league’s student-athletes to provide a better future for their families.
His view was shared by Season 85 president Fr. Aldrin Suan, CM, of host Adamson as both took a stand contrasting attempts of the PBA and the governing Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to stop the exodus.
“This is a personal view. And I speak strictly from the perspective of an organizer of collegiate sports,” Saguisag said. “[I]t’s just in line with our goal to give these students-athletes the best position to succeed and to give their families an opportunity for a better life.
“In fact, it only gives other students an opportunity to shine … the UAAP is still alive and kicking. It may be a concern, quote and unquote, but right now, we’re just happy where the student-athletes are going.”
The league lost SJ Belangel of Ateneo and RJ Abarrientos to lucrative contracts in South Korea.
Fr. Suan made it clear he was neither speaking as a member of the UAAP leadership nor as an educator and pointed at the scarcity of opportunities in the pro league here.
“We have to take note that the professional opportunity of basketball in the Philippines is very limited and we have an overwhelming supply of basketball players,” he said.
“Now, if you have an oversupply of skills and the professional venue for you to express your skills is very limited, why curtail that opportunity for other people?” Fr. Suan added.
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