SPORTS KEN: Ominous Pinoy talent drain

(The opening double header of the PBA Govs Cup Sunday was boring – ‘masakit sa mata’ – what with the 30-point blowout win inflicted by Converge upon an unsuspecting NorthPort piloted by newly-named coach Bonnie Tan, Letran’s NCAA three-peat author.)

At the rate Japan B. League and the Korean B. Leagues are “importing” (raiding is the better term actually) Pinoy basketball talents, I see a scary day when there will be no more outstanding young cagers left to finish their UAAP and NCAA careers.

At the same time, their academic education will be jeopardized as they pursue a livelihood playing pro hoops early in their young life.

Cebu’s Carl Tamayo, UP’s most valued mainstay to date who is potentially the next most outstanding hoopster in the Philippine horizon, was the latest to join the “foreign league.”

He was announced to have enlisted with Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings.

The 6’7” Fighting Maroons forward first secured the “blessings” of UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde who then gave the former the go signal as he bade the entire UP community goodbye although he still had two more UAAP seasons left.

Only 19, Tamayo’s reason for going professional is of course economic. Nobody can argue against that. Pursuit of happiness, as they say.

Those who went ahead of Carl were mostly his peers, friends and colleagues in the collegiate basketball circle like NCAA MVP Rhenz Abando, RJ Abarrientos, Belangel, Dwight Ramos, Kobe Paras, etc.

Certainly, the Japanese and Korean Leagues are wise enough to offer attractive packages, paying more as Pinoy dribblers get their compensation in US dollars.

The currency exchange rate is obviously an attractive aspect, compared to the peso rate PBA pros receive here.

Ostensibly, the exodus of Pinoy collegiate talents to the Japan, Korean and even the Taiwan B Leagues indicate in strong terms that the PBA may face a talent drought in future drafting sessions.
Kai Sotto is the prime example.

Naturally,parents and families of outstanding Pinoy amateur and collegiate cagers once dreaming of joining the PBA ranks now have a better option before they approve of their sons’ jumping into Asia’s first pay for play league.

If this will be the trend in the next several years, the specter of a PBA folding up in the future stares it in the face.

Fanatic basketball fans will shy away from watching PBA games if the marquee players they want to see and watch personally are not suiting up and playing for their favorite ball clubs.

This is a much dreaded prospect which may happen if the men and women behind the PBA do not loosen up, revise compensation rules and pay equal – if not more – money.

Tamayo’s move to the foreign B Leagues is as ominous as the frequent earthquakes that visit us unpredictably. (Email feedback to GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

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