Adeogun says, as an import, he only made his teammates better

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 25, 2015 02:11 PM
Adeogun says, as an import, he made his teammates better
YOU ALREADY KNOW OLA ADEOGUN. Nigerian Ola Adeogun said all he, and other imports, did for the league was to make their teammates and even their opponents better.

A couple of years from now, the oldest collegiate league in the country will be closing its doors to foreigners.

According to current league president and Mapua CEO Reynaldo Vea, “Maybe after two more years, the NCAA will be an All-Filipino league.”

Vea’s statement during the Season 91 press conference last Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena merely re-stressed the policy board’s decision in 2013 barring member schools from taking in foreign-born players. Non-Filipinos already on the roster will still be allowed to use their playing years, but new recruits from overseas will no longer be approved.

Re-professing his sentiments on the import ban, the most recognizable foreign-born player told ABS-CBN Sports, “We’re killing Filipino talent, that’s what they say. For me, I only make my teammates better.”

Ola Adeogun continued, “Look at Kyle (Pascual), Jake (Pascual), David (Semerad), and Dave (Marcelo). We all made each other tougher.” All four former San Beda Red Lions are now playing in the PBA.

The hulking Nigerian was recruited in 2011 by then San Beda coach Frankie Lim and recalled, “I didn’t know anything about Philippine basketball then. I searched online and saw there was a Nigerian before in (Sam) Ekwe so I said I think I can survive there.”

Adeogun did more than survive as he played a leading role, along with Baser Amer, in extending the Red Lions’ dominance to eight championships in the last nine seasons.

Along with his sweet victories in Mendiola, the Nigerian is proud of his and the other imports’ legacy in the NCAA. “We came into the league and we brought excitement,” he said.

That fondness for that legacy is what makes the import ban a bitter pill to swallow for Adeogun. “Maybe some people don’t really like seeing us dominating,” he bemoaned.

Already in his fifth and final playing year, the San Beda center won’t have to experience the implications of the import ban. It’s the fact that there’s one lesser opportunity for others after him that Adeogun laments as he shared, “I’m almost gone. I’m just thinking about the other guys.”

Nonetheless, as the face of foreign-born players, the San Beda center said they will learn how to live with the league’s decision. “We’re here in a Filipino league as a foreigner, but we’re here in the Philippines to study, to get a degree, to get something out of life,” he said.

He added, “Whatever they think is the best thing to do that will help the league, let them go ahead. This league was here when we arrived and this league will be here when we leave.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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