Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Midnight Special: Club vs. Country

The biggest headline in these parts has been the controversy over Japeth Aguilar and his non-signing. To summarize it, the first pure Filipino baller in years to play in a NCAA team (Western Kentucky), was the first overall draft pick in this year's Philippine Basketball Association Draft. Days later, he decided not to play for the team who drafted him (Burger King), choosing to go with a commitment to the national team. The huge fuss over this is that Burger King was somehow able to secure a verbal agreement that resulted in him being drafted. All of a sudden, a change of mind occurred during the FIBA-Asia Championships in Tianjin recently. The lead-up had been whether Japeth chooses to play either with the National Team or the pros. This is what he said regarding the matter.

I find it interesting because Burger King, thinking that they have it in the bag, decided to overhaul their team and centering it on Japeth. With his decision, they were screwed holding an empty bag. Feeling vindictive, a proposal was made to ban him to the league. Hopefully, that has not prospered as of yet (no update it).

What complicates matters was that Burger King was willing to lend him to the Philippine National Team, but Japeth preferred a full commitment to the team. Contrast it to the move Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made barring his stud Dirk Nowitzki for playing with the German National team. Contrast it to the San Antonio Spurs being apprehensive with Manu Ginobili for Argentina (did not play in the Tournament of the Americas) and Tony Parker for France (who injured his ankle in the Euro qualifiers) over the past few years. Contrast that with the Ricky Rubio situation in Minnesota (who decided to play for FC Barcelona for 2 years). Contrast it to the game of soccer, where national and club aspirations are way way bigger that what we expect it to be.

It is really hard when you are considered as a "savior" for a sport. (case in point: Yao Ming) The pressure is incredible and could be unreasonably high. I hope things do work out on our end as well as Japeth's end.

For as long there is conflict, I don't think this will end.

1 comment: