The controversy on the citizenship of Asi Taulava is turning the PBA into a big joke. I have to admit, I’ve lost interest in the PBA the very moment those so-called “Fil-Shams” started dominating the league. Might as well go for the NBA, where the world’s best are playing. The local league is only good, if it’s just local. Sure, Billy Ray Bates and Jim Hackett were fun to watch way back when they were imports, and they played as imports. But to pass off the American and Tongan outsiders as Filipinos? Come on. Is there anything else here we can do without bending the rules? My goodness, we can’t even run a decent basketball league.
My friend Atty. Egay Francisco, Asi’s lawyer, has a point when he says that only the courts have the right to strip off Asi of his alleged Filipino citizenship, not the DOJ and surely not the PBA.
But my quarrel with him is why is he pressing the PBA on this? If the PBA is not convinced that Asi is not a Filipino, that’s the PBA’s prerogative. The PBA basketball court is its private domain. If it doesn’t want Asi on it, Asi cannot play on it. Asi should go play on the side streets, basketball is always played better there. That’s where I play.
What is at stake here is the integrity of the PBA. The league should be allowed to interpret its own rules of play. For if we let the T.R.O.-totting lawyers meddle with its rules, watching PBA basketball will never be fun again. And this is what it is all about: fun. Lawyers on the basketball court? That’s not fun. That’s annoying. So Pareng Egay, please keep off the basketball court.
As for Asi, he is the only guy I know who wants to have a Filipino citizenship. Maybe he deserves one. And as a punishment for all this trouble he is giving us, once he truly gets it, he should not be allowed to lose it. Meanwhile, I’m not watching him play and disgrace the PBA with his TRO.
PBA Commissioner Noli Eala has stood pat on his decision to stand by the rules of the PBA prohibiting non-Filipinos to play as Filipinos. Thus, in spite of handily winning the first game with Taulava on board, Tualava's team Talk 'n Text, forfeited Game one and thereafter refused to field Taulava on Game Two, which Talk N' Text lost. Meanwhile Atty. Francisco filed contempt charges against Noli Eala for his actions which allegedly disobeyed the TRO mandating the PBA to allow Taulava to play.