MERALCO coach Norman Black rued the Fiba ruling against the team after the Bolts played in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup without Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge.
The two Filipino-Americans of Meralco were unable to play in the international club competition after applying the Fiba rule that states players should obtain their Philippine passports before they turn 16 to play for their country.
The ruling forced the Bolts to play shorthanded in the tournament although the team finished fourth in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
“It’s not really a tournament where you are sending your national team. It’s your club team that you are sending. If Newsome and Hodge are part of our club, I don’t understand why they are not allowed to play,” said Black.
Black said the ruling will also have an effect on the Philippines if other PBA ballclubs will be sent to the club competition.
“We are not the champion team in the PBA obviously but we are sent to go there to play. And even if you say San Miguel or Ginebra, they also have Fil-Ams. And I’m not sure if everyone will be eligible to play. If they are going to have a club competition, I think they should have let the entire team go,” Black said.
“They shouldn’t like discriminate against guys who are Filipino-Americans because they are still Filipino and they are part of the club,” said Black.
Meanwhile, Black hopes the tournament will help the Bolts in their campaign in the Governors’ Cup being at the bottom half of the standings.
“I think it was a good experience for my players. I just wished we could have a complete lineup or we did have the guys who are hurt or at least being able to play with Hodge and Newsome because that would help us a lot.
“The teams we played were very, very good teams, very talented teams. It’s a little bit difficult to go undermanned considering the competition. But I’m hoping that my players will be able to use this in the future. I hope they had a good experience playing in the tournament,” said Black.