Homegrown players are never inferior to Fil-foreigners, says Gabe Norwood
"Local' talent has proven to be up to par and that all Filipino players (no matter where they were born) have improved their game," says Gilas mainstay Gabe Norwood. Photo by Fiba

GABE Norwood played down the "disadvantage" that Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) commissioner Kenneth Duremdes feels local standouts could have when pitted against Filipino-foreign counterparts.

That fear prompted the MBPL to implement a rule limiting its teams to just one Fil-foreign player no taller than 6-4 - a rule branded as 'discriminatory' and 'racist' by Fil-foreign players who have played in the PBA.

"Looking at the numbers, the PBA hasn't had a 'Fil-foreign' MVP in almost a decade," Norwood told SPIN.ph. "So 'local' talent has proven to be up to par and that all Filipino players (no matter where they were born) have improved their game."

Kelly Williams was the last multi-racial player to win the PBA MVP, claiming the award in the 2007-08 season, before Jayjay Helterbrand, James Yap, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa, Arwind Santos, and four-time reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo succeeded him.

Alapag, Helterbrand, and Caguioa are full-blooded Pinoys who were raised in the US.

Norwood, a Fil-American born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is befuddled by the MPBL's rule that discriminates against foreign-raised Filipino cagers.

"It’s just confusing to me to be honest," the Rain or Shine utility man said. "I feel like the game has become so global, that one would embrace that global influence especially when Filipino blood is present."

Fellow Fil-Am Chris Ross, usually vocal on social media, politely declined to comment on the issue.

"It's their rule," the San Miguel Beer playmaker said. "I'm part of the PBA. It's their league."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos