This appears in philstar.com
Tiong Lian to skip 44th season
by rick olivares
The Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association will skip its 44th season this coming January as the six schools – Chiang Kai Shek College, Grace Christian High School, Hope Christian High School, St. Jude Catholic School, St. Stephen’s High School, and Xavier School – will sit down before the current school year ends to discuss once and for all the rules pertaining to eligibility, recruitment, and the homegrown issues among many others that have plagued them in the past years.
After taking the 2013 title with a three-game finals win over Xavier, Hope Christian came under fire from some schools for their recruitment policies that they said undermined the spirit of competition. According to a source from Xavier, HCHS and Chiang Kai Shek College began to recruit a lot of Filipinos instead of the usual home grown Fil-Chinese players.
Hope Christian won the title with Filipino standouts John Apacible, Jobert Mercado, and Arjan dela Cruz.
Earlier reports had it that Grace Christian, St. Jude, and Xavier were considering pulling out from the Philippines’ oldest Chinese-Filipino basketball league due to those aforementioned issues.
A Tiong Lian source clarified that “the league isn’t dead nor is it cancelled but will merely take a year’s sabbatical to iron out all the issues that have plagued the league.”
“In truth,” added our Tiong Lian source, “If you look at our league rules, there is so much gray area on recruitment and what is a home grown player.”
The previous Tiong Lian rules stated that as long as someone is legitimately enrolled then he can play. These rules made no distinction on who is Chinese, Filipino, homegrown or a transferee until some schools decided to cut down and curb recruitment in recent years.
The current Tiong Lian rules stipulate that a homegrown player is considered to be 12 years of age while a school can recruit at least two players.
However, before the 42nd season, the group headed by Xavier wanted to bring down the age of the homegrown player to 10 years of age and to further cut down on the number of recruits every year from three to two to one and to ultimately, none by Season 46.
The other Tiong Lian schools (HCHS, CKSC, and St. Stephen’s) however disagreed because it is difficult to recruit players due to different school policies and their student population number.
Our league source claims that, “The correct thing to do is to look at the culture of all the schools. Some schools have a student population of several thousand while others are under a thousand. Some schools accept a lot of transferees and as per league rules, they are considered as recruits. However, these schools disagree on transferees being labeled as recruits since some of them come to their school voluntarily.
What all six Tiong Lian schools agree to however is the suggestion that the league take the year off to iron out all issues then come back in 2015 for its 44th season.
Summed up our league source, “We want to settle all issues first then come up with a comprehensive set of rules to build on Tiong Lian’s legacy.”