By Kevin Sox
Gilas Pilipinas men have started their preparations for the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup on Monday, with a pool consisting mainly of familiar players that have led them throughout the qualification process.
But a notable exclusion was Fil-American combo guard Remy Martin, a 20-year-old point guard from US NCAA Division I school Arizona State.
As early as 2018, Martin was named a part of then head coach Chot Reyes’ 23-man pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup the Philippines will be co-hosting with Indonesia and Japan.
Martin took his reaction on his Instagram account, posting a picture of the Philippine flag with the caption “Hurt… will always represent” as the playmaker seemed to have all the intentions to join Gilas for the 2019 World Cup.
But Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio clarified per ESPN5 that the exclusion of Martin from the pool was merely due to eligibility issues, and not because he is not worthy of being part of the candidates for the final 12.
“We are more than happy to accommodate Remy and make him part of our Gilas Pilipinas program. However, we are constrained by the FIBA ruling that says a player hoping to play as a local must have a local passport before the age of 16,” Panlilio said in a statement.
FIBA eligibility rules state that in order for a player to be considered a local, s/he must have obtained a passport for his or her home country before the age of 16.
“That is one area that we are still trying to ascertain. There is no doubt that Remy’s mother, Mary Anne Bagtas Macaspac was born in the Philippines. She has documents to prove that. However, we are waiting for more documents to prove that Remy is eligible to play as a local.”
But the SBP has taken progressive steps like convening with the FIBA Board to continue convincing them about changing rules.
Fil-foreigners like Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger, who have played for Gilas during the qualification stages of the World Cup, both suited up as “naturalized” players.
Amendments in the eligibility rules would surely benefit a team like the Philippines, who would also like to have both Jordan Clarkson and Andray Blatche suit up together.
Martin averaged 12.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 5.0 APG for the Sun Devils during their 2018-19 campaign.