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SBP hopes FIBA ruling on Jawato leads to ‘naturalized’ Fil-fors being treated as locals

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas plans to sit down with FIBA and again discuss matters related to player eligibility following the recent development surrounding Brandon Jawato and Indonesia.

Jawato, an Indonesian-American, has been declared eligible by the world’s governing body for basketball to play as a local for Timnas after being initially acknowledged to play as a naturalized player.

The 27-year-old forward and former PBA import Lester Prosper were granted Indonesian citizenships just last week, in time for the upcoming 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ second window to be staged in Manama, Bahrain.

Jawato, according to numerous reports, was cleared as FIBA put into consideration the fact that he has an Indonesian-born father, and he’s been living and playing in the country since 2015.

“Again, I think we have to [have a] dialogue with FIBA on what actually happened there and I guess continue to really push our case to FIBA,” said the amiable executive said in a press conference Thursday.

Jawato’s case is similar to that of Greg Slaughter, who was finally cleared to play as a local for Gilas Pilipinas as FIBA took into account the fact that he has been living and playing in the Philippines since he was 19 years old.

But then, the SBP is batting for more Filipino players to be classified as locals for them to play without restrictions for the national team. And the federation has gone on what could be considered as a crusade to have it attained.

And given Jawato’s case, hope has risen anew for the SBP that some Fil-foreign cagers can finally be recognized as locals, which will definitely be great news for the national team program moving forward.

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Players like Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle can only play for the national team as naturalized players based on FIBA eligibility rules, which has been something that the country is pushing to be amended.

“As you know, that has been an issue we’ve been raising to FIBA that the players are truly Filipinos. And it’s really just this rule on not having the passport by the age of 16 that has been the impediment with that regulation,” he said.

“But that’s not for me to answer.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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