HAVING Gilas Pilipinas compete as a guest team in the PBA is a step in the right direction for NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
For the former national tactician, however, a separate move should have been done to ensure the development of amateur players selected for national duty goes uninterrupted, unlike what happened in last year’s COVID-struck season.
Specifically, Guiao wants said players to be allowed to play for the pro teams which drafted them.
“Kasi kaya nga dina-draft mo sa Gilas para mapakinabangan mo, ma-develop. E kung di sila mag-co-compete, di sila ma-de-develop as quickly as possible,” reasoned Guiao.
“The whole point of draftng for the national team is to have full access to these players para hindi sila p’wedeng i-hold ng whichever team na mag-draft sa kanila,” added Guiao.
“Ang dapat p’wedeng pag-usapan na lang, walang mag-ho-hold ng players when called for the national team.”
Guiao said that would also help negate any disruption like what happened for the most part of 2020.
“From last year, where are they now? What happened in the last one year?” posed Guiao, who handled the national team’s reins in 2009 and 2019.
“Of course, nagkaroon ng pandemic,” added Guiao. “But they were not able to play in the (PBA) bubble, they were not able to play the (FIBA Asia Cup qualifying) windows. Nakailang laro sila na competitive, compared to had they played in the PBA.”
The latest agreement between the PBA and SBP has the pro league conducting a special round in its rookie draft for the national association in basketball to nab players who would be included in the national pool.
That same special draft, first held in 2016 and then in 2019, would again be repeated in the PBA’s Season 46 Rookie Draft scheduled March 14.
Said players, however, could not suit up for the PBA teams which drafted them until the SBP releases them from national duties.
Guiao said it is high time for that agreement to be revisited in light of what happened last year.
Only late in 2020 was the PBA allowed to salvage its stalled Philippine Cup and only through a bubble in Clark City. Ditto for Gilas, which was also only able to play the FIBA Asia Cup window through a bubble in Bahrain.
The likes of Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi and Rey Suerte, picked in the 2019 special draft, were not able to see action and thus lost valuable time in their development, per Guiao’s point of view.
Matt Nieto, nabbed by NLEX in the last special draft, is a case in point for Guiao.
“Dapat naglalaro na siya, dapat nag-co-compete na siya, nakasama siya sa bubble. Tapos he’d play in the windows, he could have had more experience. Ngayon walang competition iyung bata, eh,” Guiao pointed out.
“Even if it’s not for Gilas, if it’s for his personal development. Paano siya mag-i-improve?” added Guiao.