Dubai: Bimby Yap will become the first Filipino to play in the NBA, according to his PBA-playing father James. But it begs the question why should one have to wait for the four-year-old to grow up before such a milestone in the Philippines' national sport is reached.
Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, Yap Senior of B-Meg joked, when asked why a Filipino had never played stateside: "Maybe, not [at] this time, but maybe my son I hope will [make it to the NBA]."
Nobody likes a racial stereotype, but ‘size' is the only credible answer the stars can offer to the long-running PBA-NBA conundrum. Yap said: "Filipino's lack height. But I've seen some young Filipinos who are tall and [I believe] it's just a matter of time. But the NBA guys are tall and quick, thats their advantage."
The PBA has been running for 36 years, a full 29 less than America's NBA. But with the American-imported game now arguably at the heart of Filipino culture and with millions of Filipino's relocated and integrated into US-society, the fact that size limits a Filipino kid's chances in the game simply shouldn't wash in this day of age.
At five foot three inches Muggsy Bogues is proof enough that you can forge a decent basketball career without necessarily being tall.
Mark Caquaio of Ginebra said it's positional. "I think guys that are a lot taller and can bring down the ball get used to growing up playing as a four or a five [in the Philippines]. NBA kids like that play point guard at 6'4, 6'5, 6'6. In Philippines at that height you're a centre automatically. You don't get used to bringing the ball down a lot and you simply don't play point guard.
"The best PBA players should go to the NBA, it's just the height factor — the PBA should do more to promote itself and the NBA scouts should take another look."