FORMER national coach Yeng Guiao welcomes the idea of tapping naturalized players to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas only as long as the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) allows such practice.
“It (tapping naturalized player) can help in the long term as long as it is allowed by the Fiba. And if it’s allowed for a long period of time, we might as well take advantage of it,” Guiao told Spin.ph on Saturday.
Guiao called the shots for the Philippine team that made the quarterfinals of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship in Tianjin, China in 2009.
Gilas has Marcus Douthit for its naturalized player as the former Los Angeles Lakers draftee suited up for Gilas in the FIBA-Asia tilt.
Per FIBA rules, only one naturalized player is allowed to represent a particular country.
Petron team consultant Todd Purves agreed to Guiao’s opinion,pointing out that getting the services of naturalized player make the national team better, and more importantly, allows Filipino basketball to get better exposure from the US-brand of play.
“Certainly, by having a naturalized player, you’re gonna be a better team,” said Purves, who currently serves as the Memphis Grizzlies’ talent scout in Asia.
The two offered their respective views in response to the recent announcement of Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes that the team is looking to tap either Denver Nuggets center Javale McGee or Brooklyn Nets backup big man Andray Blatche to reinforce the national squad in the Fiba-World Cup in Spain this August.
Two bills have already been filed in Congress by Rep. Robbie Puno seeking the naturalization of McGee and Blatche.
Having McGee or Blatche to reinforce the team in the world basketball championship could help Gilas Pilipinas achieve a decent showing in the meet where the country is seeing action for the first time in 35 years.
Guiao however, offered a word of caution to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) not to simply rely on the use of naturalized players considering the potential talents that are just waiting to be tapped here.
Purves, who served as a video intern for the Sacramento Kings the past decade, declined to comment on what Blatche or McGee could bring to Gilas Pilipinas should either of them suit up for the team in the World Cup.