KEN Tuffin, seeing action in New Zealand, and Thirdy Ravena, signed to a Japan ballclub, believe teaming up and facing foreign student-athletes in their collegiate days have helped in their overall development as players.
"Sa totoo lang, ang laking tulong nila kasi nga it’s a different culture," Ravena, who just signed with San-En NeoPhoenix in the B.League in Japan, said in The Prospects Pod on Friday.
The debate on collegiate league imports resurfaced after the NCAA said it stands firm on the decision to prohibit foreign student-athletes from being part of varsity teams in all sports.
"You learn a lot having imports in your team and going against imports," said Tuffin, the Far Eastern University forward who now suits up for Taranaki Mountainairs in the New Zealand National Basketball League.
"Of course you learn a lot from them, how they approach the game, and what their mindset’s like. All the little things, it really helps."
In Ateneo, Ravena teamed up with Nigeria's Chibueze Ikeh and Ivory Coast's Ange Kouame, who was named as the UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile, Tuffin has been teammates with Nigeria's Prince Orizu in his first three years in Far Eastern University before linking up with Cameroon's Patrick Tchuente last year and Nigerian slotman Emman Ojuola this season.
Other UAAP teams also have foreign players, with Bright Akhuetie now suiting up for University of the Philippines after an NCAA stint with Perpetual Help, Soulemane Chabi Yo at University of Santo Tomas after playing for San Lorenzo in the UCBL, and Papi Sarr at Adamson.
While others applaud the NCAA for putting focus on the local talents, others disagree.
Ravena said being exposed to foreign talents have helped in broadening his perspective not just of the game but in life.
"Just hearing them, seeing their interests doon sa different culture nila, nade-develop namin (yung bond)," he said, with him saying that it's also a two-way street between the foreigners and the locals. "Napaguusapan din namin yung culture dito sa Philippines. With that, marami talaga kaming bagay na nagagawa."
"Nakikita mo rin yung mga mindset nila, kung ano yung mga difference, and nakokopya mo din yung good habits nila. So definitely, they played such a big part in my career and my development as a player," he said.