May 31, 2008

The May 28 story “Barrios wants PBA out of RP Team” by Manila Bulletin reporter Waylon Galvez drew the ire of many sports fans in an online forum I frequently visit. Galvez wrote:

The all-pro team that placed 9th in the previous FIBA-Asia Olympic Qualifying meet in Japan could be the last international tournament for the PBA.

This was the suggestion made by PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios as he asked the board to consider the scrapping of the “pickup” system in forming a national team that has not worked since professional players started to don the national colors 18 years ago.

“My point was that it’s obvious that our market will not be attracted during the games if we don’t have the stars of the show,” Barrios said…”

Read more.

PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios has an amnesia. He needs to be reminded of the fact that the Philippines is no longer one of the basketball powerhouse in Asia.

The league has the best basketball players in the country but it should not exist in a vacuum. Why? Because other Asian countries had greatly improved their basketball programs. Countries such as Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan would surely ring a bell. We need to “level up” our program. The best way to do that is to go international and compete with the best countries out there.

As regards to the apprenticeship program for the RP-youth team, I am so sure that those players would then eventually join the PBA. Let’s face it, almost all basketball players here in the country aspire to play in the PBA to earn fame and fortune. So what’s the point of building a program like that?

One ‘forumer’ mentioned that the best basketball program would be building a permanent national team composed of the best players in the PBA and continuously train them. Then gradually replace them with the younger and better ones but still continue the program. This is the basketball program that Chot Reyes had already started. What Barrios has in mind now is insanity.

If Barrios’s directive would be implemented, the old-fashioned commissioner would then prove that he has no vision AT ALL for the Philippine basketball.


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