A TOP regional coach is calling for changes to level the playing field in the Palarong Pambansa.
National Capital Region once again dominated the basketball tournament for student-athletes this summer, and Pampanga coach Alan Trinidad lamented that the Big City teams are actually fielding recruits from the provinces.
“’Yung mga ginagawa namin sa Palarong Pambansa, para merong ma-recruit ang NCR especially UAAP and NCAA, which is wala akong nakikitang saysay sa tournament na ginagawa namin,” Trinidad told SPIN.ph on Tuesday.
Trinidad’s Central Luzon lost anew to NCR, which was represented by UAAP and NBTC Division 1 champion National University, 103-79, last week in the title match in Davao City.
The Pampanga squad under Trinidad has now lost three times in the championship game of the Palaro – twice to NCR and once to Calabarzon, which is usually represented by San Beda College-Taytay.
Trinidad insisted he is not sour-graping, but stressed that other regions in other sports are also suffering.
His proposal: Ban UAAP and NCAA athletes from the Palaro.
“Masakit eh, hindi naman dahil sa natalo ako. It’s been my dilemma for ilang years na. Six years na akong nagco-coach sa Palaro. Six years na akong champion sa CLRAA (Central Luzon Region Athletic Association) pero hanggang doon lang,” Trinidad said.
“Tulad ng mga nakalaban namin, lahat lehitimong tiga-Region 3. Pero pagdating ng nationals, ang makakalaban mo selection na wala namang Manila.”
NCR’s basketball team featuring Gerry Abadiano of Iloilo, Bacolod’s Harold Alarcon and Bago City’s Reyland Torres, actually defeated Western Visayas in the quarterfinals.
The NCR Bullpups also feature Cebu’s Steve Nash Enriquez.
“We are doing our best to train and develop our players for a year tapos ang makakalaban mo, dating players mo, which is unfair,” said Trinidad.
“Hindi ko alam ang adhikain ng DepEd kung ano ba ‘yung motto. Is it grassroots development ba o ano?” he added.
Trinidad said athletes should be playing for their place of origin.
“From Pampanga, Pampanga. Ang NCR, wala namang lehitimong player na tiga-NCR. Players ng NCR, tiga-Davao, tiga-Pampanga. Halo-halo ‘yung mga magaling na kinuha nila,” said Trinidad.
Trinidad added that other leagues are able to work on the regional format, and that the Education department should be able to do so.
“Mas maganda pa ‘yung sistema at adhikain ng NBL na PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority-authenticated birth certificate) ang labanan na ibig sabihin lehitimong kung saan ka nagre-represent, doon ka. Ganun din ang Prisaa. Alam mo ba na ban nila ‘yung mga UAAP at NCAA teams representing Manila at kapag national player ka na, hindi ka na makakalaro ng Prisaa.
“Sana gawin na rin nila ‘yun na ‘yung mga magagaling na players, i-capture nila pero para sa national team. Wag na nilang ilaban sa amin. Hindi naman sa natatakot kami pero dehado kami,” said Trinidad.
Trinidad said banning UAAP and NCAA athletes from the Palaro will also be beneficial to legitimate athletes from NCR.
“Magkakaroon pa ng chance ang Muntinlupa, Caloocan, ‘yung ibang NCR cities at municipalities. Pero hindi. ‘Yung Manila, pinapatay nila ‘yung sports dahil selection na lang ng UAAP at NCAA. Kaya nga hindi na sila sumasali sa eliminations, mapapagod lang sila. Dapat magawan ng paraan ‘yan. Sana magising ang DepEd dahil kaming mga nasa baba ang nagpapakahirap at gumagastos din tayo” said Trinidad.
“We will know kung ang pinaghihirapan namin ay matutupad,” he said.