Monday, March 11, 2013

Winners and losers of the “Jerie Pingoy rule”


Big UAAP programs – A lot of money is now being invested in UAAP schools even in the high school level.  There are many competitions now that pit players in different age groups.  Schools now hire more coaches, scouts, and other staff that can create a pipeline of basketball superstars. The new rule somehow protects the supposed “investment” of the basketball programs.  The rule also prevent poaching from other schools although, nothing can stop UAAP schools from poaching these players earlier.  Some schools have varsity teams that can be 4 to 5 team deep and many people put a lot of value with championships even at the lower levels.

NCAA – The absence of a similar rule will now somehow give the NCAA a new source of college stars.  Before, it was typically a one-way street as countless of San Beda Cubs stars transformed into UAAP heroes after developing under the famed San Beda Juniors program.  The Jerie Pingoy Rule will make some UAAP Jrs. Starters think about moving to the other Metro Manila collegiate league.

Smaller Collegiate leagues – Similar to the NCAA, other smaller leagues can now acquire the services of former UAAP high school players.  They can somehow say to a potential UAAP dreamer to star for them for one year and get more seasoning before transferring again to their dream UAAP School.

Local players – The new rule also gives Filipino players more playing opportunities as the new rule could discourage some quality foreign players in playing at the UAAP.  UAAP schools though could create a pipeline of foreigners who can be their import in the next campaign.  It will be somehow more costly to schools in keeping these foreigners as normally they would have to shoulder some expenses for foreigners to just sit out 2 seasons and many things can happen in those 2 seasons.


UP – The University of the Philippines does not have the financial backing to support a talent-rich basketball program.  Homegrown basketball stars are quite rare of the Maroons. Normally, UP relies on external recruitment for their Senior’s program.  They have gotten many players from San Beda but they also had acquired services from players of Ateneo, FEU, and NU.  If the players need to sit out 2 years, UP will be somehow strained financially as they will support more varsity players but they can only start playing them after 2 years. Most likely, UP will be languishing in the UAAP standings in the next 10 years.

ADMU – The Ateneo de Manila University is also a loser as they are the country’s most popular collegiate basketball team.  Many young players play hard in high school with dreams of donning the Blue Eagle jersey.  Although Ateneo can always tap their best high school stars, their drive for more championships usually lead to players from other places. If you make a survey of what is the dream school of next year’s batch of high school seniors in the UAAP Jrs. Tournament, most likely most players will list Ateneo.  It is a loss for Ateneo but not a big loss.  They can afford players like Jerie Pingoy to sit for 2 years.  They are just in a way hurting the FEU Tamaraws by getting the supposed next great FEU guard.

Parents – Parents of student athletes will now have to select the college where their children will play as early as the child hits high school.  It might be too early but they early have to somehow chart the basketball futures of their children. 

Underutilized high school basketball stars – Not all players are like Jerie Pingoy or Kiefer Ravena.  For every star like Ravena, there will be 4 to 5 who do not get elevated to the senior’s team.  Some have the patience to languish in Team B or Team C but some would rather play in a rival school and try to rub it to the faces of those who denied them a chance for collegiate stardom. It is not going to be easy anymore unless a player has the humility to play for a smaller league.

UAAP Basketball has been the glamour sport of the league and it has become a big business.  Players are now viewed more as commodities and assets and probably people are putting to much weight on basketball, a sport where the Philippines cannot get a medal or even just qualify in World-level competitions.  I cannot blame UAAP schools and their management though as UAAP Basketball is giving many of these schools exposure.  Many high school students choose a certain school because of their cool UAAP program even if they are not athletes. The UAAP coolness factor could even be more important than to board exam history of schools for some kids. The power of traditional media and social media has made the UAAP bigger than ever.  The rule has its benefits and weaknesses but eventually people will just adjust and the rule will just become the norm and people will not complain about it anymore.  


PBA ban import for life

Well, it’s sad to see one of the most effective imports in the current PBA Commissioner Cup going away because he got out of control while playing the game that he loved.  It might be called intensity but in the age of Youtube and Twitter, his actions were indefensible. We have seen players brawling with opponent or even opposing fans but choking a teammate crosses the line and it made PBA watching borderline rated R. R for Renaldo Balkman. 

I had high hopes for Petron and Balkman in this conference.  Petron somehow dominated the pre-season and they have one of their best starts in years. Before the "historic" match, Petron was tied for first with their opponents the Alaska Aces. After the "crazy" incident, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud fined Balkman 250,000 pesos and he will never be allowed to play Asia's oldest professional basketball league.

The penalty was quiet harsh but I felt that somehow it was justified as PBA is one of the country's top entertainment shows.  A lot of youngsters watch the games and seeing a big guy choke a teammate is not suitable for young ages.  If the commissioner let it go, it might send a wrong message of tolerating violence inside the court. There are are lines that we should not cross.  We cannot choke anyone in national TV unless we are talking about "professional" wrestling. 

The Petron team is willing to give him another chance.  I know how they feel as well.  They just found a "perfect" import for them and now they have to look for a replacement. I do not know if they will make an appeal on behalf of the player but in a way, the team was penalized for not being able to contain their highly competitive import.  Petron can move on and try to use the situation to galvanize the team but it could also break their momentum and once again lead them to underachieve.  I am somehow rooting for them to bounce back but they need to find an identity that will define the team.  Are they just going to be a bunch of underachievers or will they finally live up to their fan's expectations.

Carry on, Petron! Farewell, Renaldo Balkman!