IN the absence of collegiate leagues due to the pandemic, the Games and Amusements Board has offered “special guest licenses” for student-athletes who may be allowed to have brief stints in professional leagues.
Chairman Abraham Mitra of GAB cited the case involving the Northern Consolidated basketball team, made up of the country’s finest amateurs, that was accommodated as a guest team in the PBA in 1984 and 1985 while it prepared to represent the country in international competitions.
While Mitra is not looking at an entire collegiate or amateur team to be allowed to play in pro basketball leagues like the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 or even the PBA, he told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) webcast Forum that individual players may do so.
“Why not allow them to play in pro leagues as guest players? They can apply for a special pro license as individuals. It’s a (limited) accommodation if there are athletes in the UAAP or NCAA who want some exposure in the pro leagues,” he said.
With a special license, the players could be tapped by pro teams as active players or practice players but only for a short and limited time. However, the players must have the blessing of their respective schools.
“Baka gusto nila sumubok ng ibang liga and carry that experience when they return to the collegiate leagues,” Mitra told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart, with Upstream Media as official webcast partner.
“These (collegiate) players have been out of action for six, seven or eight months now. The special license will allow them to play in the professional leagues without them being branded as professionals,” said Mitra, adding that the special license may cost these players P1,000 or even less.
Due to the pandemic, the UAAP and NCAA seasons, as well as the other collegiate leagues in the country, particularly in Metro Manila, have come to a screeching halt.
Unless things normalize, these leagues may be looking at the next school year for them to resume.
Mitra said UAAP and NCAA seasons in basketball normally last three months and it takes the teams six months to prepare. That leaves student athletes a window or at least a couple of months to avail of the special licenses.
This may also apply in football, where collegiate players may see action in the Philippines Football League, which recently turned professional.
Mitra also told the weekly forum that the GAB and Philippine Sports Commission have crafted the official guidelines that will draw the line between professional and amateur leagues in the country.