Did Alab Pilipinas benefit most from ABL’s rule changes?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 16, 2018 03:03 PM
Did Alab Pilipinas benefit most from ABL’s rule changes?
Alab Pilipinas now has Renaldo Balkman (right in photo) and PJ Ramos as reinforcements for back-to-back MVP Ray Parks Jr. (left in photo)

Without a doubt, the Philippines has one of the deepest pools of basketball talent in all of Southeast Asia.

With new rules regarding import and locals,  that looks like it would be even much more evident in the latest season of the Asean Basketball League.

Starting in 2018, the league will no longer delineate between World and Asean Heritage Imports and will instead just have World Imports.

In the past seasons, each team could have a maximum of two World and two Asean Heritage Imports. Asean Heritage Imports are players who have roots in Southeast Asian countries.

Now, each team could have a maximum of three World Imports – no matter where their roots are from.

Along with this, the rule on locals has also been relaxed. All that’s needed for a player to be considered such is to have at least one parent born in the particular country.

With these rule changes, the ABL hopes to have a greater showcase for the locals of each team.

If so, the Philippines gets to flex its muscle in terms of local talent even more. “It’s bad for us because we lost Caelan to (Alab Pilipinas),” Macau’s Lukas Peng joked to reporters in the preseason press conference on Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay.

A year ago, Filipino-American Caelan Tiongson played for Chong Son Kung Fu (now Macau). Due to the new rules, however, a venue has opened for him to come home to his native land.

Turning serious, though, Peng said the effects of the new rules can already be felt. “I do think it affects many things. Other than being a great advantage for the Philippines, it gives teams a chance to play locals more,” he said.

Singapore’s Michael Johnson could only agree. “We look at it as a positive because it gives a chance to our local players,” he said.

For their part, Alab Pilipinas said the fact that more Filipino-foreigners could come play for them – and at the same time, less Fil-foreigners will be imports for other teams – doesn’t necessarily give them a leg up. “For us, we’re still looking for players with character. It’s getting the right mix or players together,” team owner Charlie Dy said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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