SBP urged to tap 5 naturalization prospects

MANILA — House of Representatives deputy speaker Mikee Romero suggested on Tuesday that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) taps a number of prospects for Gilas Pilipinas Men’s naturalized player.

“Kailangan mag-recruit tayo ng at least lima (We should recruit at least five),” Romero said during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Amelie Hotel.

This came after Gilas Men crashed to the bottom of the final standings in the FIBA World Cup with an apparently aging Andray Blatche who struggled against the big men of the other teams.

“‘Yung nakita natin kay Yeng Guiao na Gilas Pilipinas ay kailangan talaga natin ng malaki (We need a big man),” Romero said. “We need a versatile big man na talagang maaasahan natin (that we can rely on).”

However, he also thought that while a big man should be the main priority, Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, whose naturalization process is ongoing in the Congress, should also be an option.

“Kunyari ang kalaban mo mabilis, kailangan mo ng isang (If you’re playing with a fast team, you need) Justin Brownlee, scorer. ‘Pag kalaban mo, malalaki, e ‘di ilaban mo ‘yung malalaki (If you’re against bigs, then field in the big ones, too). We have to be flexible,” Romero added. “We just rotate. For each tournament, may dalawa ka (you have two). Pwede mo namang palitan (you can substitute) in the middle of the games.”

So far, San Miguel import Chris McCullough has openly expressed his desire to become a naturalized Filipino. There is also a clamor for TNT KaTropa’s mid-season conference import, Terrence Jones, to get naturalized, too. Ivan Stewart Saldajeno/