Basketball legend Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez has expressed his disagreement with the plan to include two foreign players, albeit naturalized, in the Philippine national team that will play for the country in the upcoming International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in Spain.
Fernandez, who had represented the Philippines in international competitions in the past, said tapping the likes of Javale McGee and Andray Blatche, both active players in the National Basketball Association (NBA), was a “wrong approach.”
“Personally, I think it’s a wrong approach. Baka magsisi lang tayo d’yan in the end,” he said.
The former four-time Most Valuable Player of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said Gilas should focus on honing and developing the current generation of national athletes and not to look elsewhere.
He said it is very important for the local players to gain international experience and exposure in order to improve their skills.
Fernandez said tapping foreign players, naturalizing them and allowing them into the national team could only mean lost opportunities for local cagers.
He said luring NBA players to the national team cannot guarantee success in international basketball competitions, even saying such move is just a waste of money on Gilas’ part.
“Magpapakamatay ba ‘yung mga ‘yun para sa atin, sa tingin ninyo? Siyempre, baka matakot lang ‘yan na mapilayan dito, mawala pa NBA career nila,” Fernandez said.
Instead, Fernandez said the national team should focus to be the supreme basketball team in Asia.
“Ang ambisyunin lang natin Asia. ‘Wag na yung world stage,” Fernandez told SPIN. “’Pag nag-qualify tayo sa world (championships) at Olympics, that’s already a bonus.”