Top PBA pick Isaac Go supports foreign students in local leagues
Paul Kennedy Lintag on Apr 20, 2020 02:25 PM
Top PBA pick Isaac Go supports the presence of foreign student-athletes in our local collegiate basketball leagues.
Having foreign student-athletes suiting up for schools in our domestic leagues has been a rather sensitive issue for the longest time now.
In a controversial move, the NCAA has started to ban foreign student-athletes. The UAAP has made no such intention to follow suit for now.
The common case made against the foreign student-athletes is that they supposedly impede the development of local players by taking their spots away from their respective teams.
But is that really it though?
Appearing on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Margon, Columbian Dyip’s Isaac Go gave his two cents on the sensitive matter.
“Let’s be real,” we’re not gonna find a lot of 6’10”, long, athletic, and strong players here that we’re gonna face at the international level,” Go said.
“Ange is the type of player that you know he can play well in Europe, in Asia, and he’ll have a really good career. For me, going up against a player like that every day, it makes me better," he added.
As part of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Go has teamed up with Ivory Coast's Angelo Kouame on their way to dominating the UAAP, including a clean sweep of Season 82 to complete a string of three straight titles.
For a guy like Go, who plays the same position as Kouame, he naturally had to settle for lesser role compared to the one he would have had if Kouame wasn’t around for the Blue Eagles.
Go understands how that can be frustrating, but his different mindset as a player allows him to see a bigger picture.
“Of course, I felt bad I wasn’t getting enough minutes. I wasn’t getting more opportunities, at the same time, you’re not made through games,” he said.
“You don’t build your career on a 40-minute game, you build your career on the three hours you spend on the practice floor, grinding it out and going up against a player like Angge every day, you can only get better,” Go added.
For the levels above the UAAP and the NCAA, foreign players are welcome to play.
The PBA has two conferences with imports. Gilas Pilipinas has a naturalized player, and many of the national team’s rivals abroad have at least one too. For Go, why not start developing your game for the bigger competition in the collegiate ranks?
Certainly, there can only be more good than bad in continuing to have foreign student-athletes in the lineups of collegiate teams.
“These foreign students are the ones that are helping us develop into the future. I’m not putting [us] down, but we’re not as athletically gifted as these foreign athletes, that’s why every time we go to Gilas we tend to naturalize a big man for a guard-heavy country,” Go said.
“I support these foreign athletes coming here, if you bump up the level of the competition and if you have players with the right mindset, these guys are gonna look at it as a challenge. If I can compete against him in practice every day, I can get better. When you go to the PBA, you’re gonna be facing grown men, especially these imports. These guys are no joke. It’s a good way to get ready for the future,” he added.
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