Romero wants imports banned in school leagues

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    HOUSE Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero (1 Pacman) yesterday filed a bill intended to prohibit schools in various collegiate leagues from recruiting and using non-Filipino citizens as players, saying it denies homegrown players the opportunity to further develop their skills.

    The practice of using foreign players, Romero said, has become a norm in various colleges in what he said is total disregard to the true meaning of fair play.

    In House Resolution No. 388, Romero said: “I am urging the proper committee of the House of Representatives in aid of legislation to stop and prohibit all collegiate leagues from recruiting, acquiring and using non-Filipinos as players because in effect, it stops the growth and shortchanges the development of various sports programs in the Philippines.”

    Romero said schools that have vast resources have the advantage over other teams.

    “Lest I be accused of being some kind of a killjoy, I am doing this for the good of Philippine basketball. The crushing defeats we suffered in the recent FIBA World Cup has forced me to make this resolution,” said Romero, the godfather of the Philippine team that won the cage gold during the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand.

    “I’m not targeting any school here. All I want is to give our homegrown players the chance to improve and compete to the best of their ability,” said Romero. “Acquiring foreigners is not only counter-productive but also makes it more expensive to maintain a team.”

    Romero also noticed that some foreign players – mostly Africans – have moved from one league to another, belying the claim that they came to the country to study.

    “Hindi tayo nagdadamot, pero ang masakit nito ang kapwa nating Filipino ang nagiging biktima rito,” said Romero, who played for La Salle during his college days.

    Romero noted that the NCAA is doing away with “imports” next season.

    “These foreign players have taken away playing time from Filipino players, so kung wala ng foreign players they have to step up and deliver,” said an NCAA official.