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The never-ending Fil-foreign controversy

July 29, 2023 Lito Cinco 593 views

Lito CincoTHIS subject will never stop being a topic in the local world of sports.

In fact it will even grow more and more, after all, more and more Filipino athletes of mixed descent keep on emerging in different disciplines.

And there will always be people who do not see anything wrong at all if Fil-foreign athletes keep on being recruited by different National Sports Associations (NSAs), believing these athletes can strengthen local teams and win medals abroad aside from PBA teams too.

And I agree that a great majority of mixed blood athletes who end up playing for the Philippines in whatever sports it may be, are more skilled, and more athletic than local ones.

Part of their argument too is the fact that legitimate Fil-foreigners that opted either for Filipino citizenship or adopted dual citizenship have the same rights as Philippine-born citizens.

By the way, Fil-Am, or rather Fil-foreign athletes born here and grew up here were never part of the controversy. They were considered locals, never mind the contradiction.

On the other hand, like when the Fil- sham controversy erupted in the PBA in the late 90s with a lot of mixed blood athletes, well supposedly they were.

But the truth is, several faked their papers and actually did not have a single drop of Filipino blood, except maybe if he accepted a blood donation from a Pinoy, the argument presented was that these people were taking over slots that could have gone to local cagers.

Fact is, even local basketball coaches for a time were up in arms when foreign coaches started taking over several PBA teams.

What happened was after basketball, the practice of getting athletes from abroad, not just the United States but in other parts of the world.

In football for instance, talking of the very popular Azkals then, those with foreign blood outnumbered the locals.

And now, it is the same with our women’s football team that has endeared itself with local fans because of their gritty performance in the World Cup, even winning over higher ranked New Zealand and Italy. And are still in the running for the next round.

Then other sports also followed suit, athletics, women’s softball, swimming, women’s basketball, to mention the more visible ones, and with the same effect, the teams became stronger.

Our women’s basketball team placed 6th in the FIBA Asia Cup and will play in the Asian Ganes for the first time, our U16 girls’ basketball team that also featured a lot of Fil-Ams, swept its Group B competition and will move up to Group A two years from now.

The Blu Girls , playing also in its own World Cup, beat New Zealand and Italy in the initial round, but failed to advance to the next round, still an impressive performance.

Actually, it was the women’s football team’s success that prompted me to devote a piece on this controversial subject matter, at least for some people it is.

What are my thoughts on it then?

Aside from smiling at the thought that when Fil-Am cagers like Jordan Clarkson and Jalen Green are toasted as basketball heroes for making it to the NBA, , even wishing they could always play for Gilas, it becomes an irony of sorts that people also frown on Fil-Ams playing in the PBA.

But I would not be honest if I say that I would prefer a successful home grown team than one dominated by Fil-foreign athletes, a feeling that I believe will resonate with a lot of local fans.

But then, without these same athletes reinforcing our locals in international competitions, we will not be tasting and relishing the success that we are seeing now.

For some, the solution is to limit the number of Fil-foreign athletes in a national team, or maybe half at the most, but sorry , this will not happen, sports is always measured by the success it attains and who is the sports offical who will refuse a sure medal?

Maybe if we see these mixed blood athletes exerting more honest efforts in learning to be more Filipino, or singing the national anthem perfectly, the resistance will be reduced.

In conclusion, the success these athletes help bring will be enough for the majority of local fans, their demeanor while here, in turn, will endear them more to us.

And for me, there is no turning back any more , there will be more and more mxed blood national athletes in the future, and as long as legitimate, I will accept them as Filipinos. Period.

LOOSE CHANGE: Today Sunday will see the finals between Creamline and Kurashiki from Japan in the PVL Invitational, this after Kurashiki beat Creamline 3-1 in the final gane of the elimination round.Sad to say, I think Kurashiki will repeat in the finals….everyone will be glued to the Philippines-Norway match in the women’s football World Cup today, best of luck to our team.

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