Mikee Romero files House resolution banning foreign players in collegiate leagues

MANILA, Philippines – House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman party list filed a House resolution that will stop and prohibit schools in various collegiate leagues from recruiting and using non-Filipino citizens as it denies homegrown players the opportunity to further develop their skill.

The practice of using foreign players under the guise of student-athletes has, according to Romero, become a norm in various colleges nowadays and is a move in 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."

If the House adopts the resolution, it would not have the full force and effect of the law. It would merely "express the sense" of the House on their support for Romero's push to ban foreign players in collegiate and university leagues. 

By allowing foreigners to play, Romero said schools that have vast resources will have undue advantages, and in doing so, destroy the beautiful game of basketball.

"Lest I'll 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.

"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 is also more expensive to maintain a team."

The House resolution comes less than a week after Romero suggested Gilas Pilipinas needs at least 5 naturalized players for international competitions. 

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

"We're not trying to be selfish but what happens is that our fellow Filipinos become victims of this practice," said Romero, who played for La Salle during his college days, in Filipino. 

The lawmaker, who owns NorthPort in the PBA, said various league should find ways or create measures to prevent the proliferation of this "malpractice for the sake of homegrown athletes."

Romero, however, is happy to note that this season will be the last time "imports" in the oldest collegiate league – the NCAA – will be playing.

"These foreign players have taken away playing time from Filipino players, so if there are no foreign players, they have to step up and deliver," said an NCAA official. – Rappler.com