WINNING the title in the 96th NCAA basketball tournament will feel like bagging an all-Filipino crown in the PBA.
That’s according to Jose Rizal University coach Louie Gonzalez, who backed the decision of the NCAA to ban foreign players in all sports in the league’s 96th season.
“I support the direction of NCAA management on this matter. Sana mapagbigyan muna, let us see what this leads to, pero ako excited ako, parang sa PBA, iba ang pride kapag nag-champion ka ng All-Filipino Cup,” Gonzalez told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“Filipino players, not just in basketball, but all sports pa din naman makikinabang and may opportunity pa din naman to play against FSAs (foreign student athletes) sa ibang exposure tournaments,” he added.
Unlike the NCAA, the UAAP still allows “imports” to suit up.
Gonzalez, who is also the president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, said the league should regulate the recruitment of imports.
“Wala kasing existing regulations on FSAs but I am looking forward na sana magkaroon na,” explained Gonzalez. “We don’t know but sana in the near future because it is starting to get out of hand now.”
The current Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort strategist in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League cited the US NCAA as a good example.
“Tulad sana ng NCAA sa States that has clear guidelines, rules and regulations on recruitment, allowances, etc., na once nag-violate ang player or school, there is a corresponding sanction,” said Gonzalez, who won a title as deputy to Aldin Ayo at Letran in 2015 and at La Salle in 2016. He called the shots for the Green Archers in 2018 before moving to the Shaw Boulevard-based five last year.
“With that, we can protect the integrity of the league and the participating schools.”
With the country’s COVID-19 pandemic woes having no end in sight, the NCAA is eyeing to launch its new season, set to be hosted by Letran, early next year.
The Heavy Bombers wound up with a 5-13 card in the last NCAA cage wars.
Wingman Agem Miranda, forwards Marwin Dionisio and John Amores, and guard Ry Dela Rosa are expected to lead JRU’s bid along with forward EJ Agbong and playmaker Jason Solis, who both transferred from Letran, and another new addition in forward Paolo Quiminales from Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology.
JRU last reached the Final Four in 2017 under former tactician and pro league great Vergel Meneses.
The Bombers have not won a title since 1972 behind PBA legend Philip Cezar.