GlobalPort coach John Cardel said they are letting go of Thai-American guard Tyler Lamb with a heavy heart after being told that it will take a while before their prospective Asian import could secure the certification from FIBA (International Basketball Federation).
Lamb, who was measured last Saturday at 6-2 &3/4, just within the 6-3 height limit for Asian reinforcements, flew with the team to Legazpi for the out-of-town game over the weekend.
But the athletic former Long Beach and UCLA wingman could only watch the team on the bench as GlobalPort pulled off a shocking 101-99 win over fancied Rain or Shine in the Bicol region.
“We don’t know pa how long it will take to get the FIBA document and with four games to go. Hindi namin alam kung makakalaro pa ba siya sa amin,” Cardel told FOX Sports, shortly after GlobalPort’s Tuesday morning practice at Gatorade Hoops Center.
Lamb no longer joined the team’s practice on Monday, but left for Thailand. But Cardel said they are in close contact with the 25-year-old Lamb should the FIBA document arrive sooner than expected.
“Kung may mangyaring maganda at mapabilis yung kulang niyang paper, puwede namin siya ibalik kasi may kakulangan din kami because he can play 1 to 3 spots for the team,” said Cardel, who saw the highly-touted Lamb in practice last week.
PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said the FIBA document is an important piece for any potential Asian import.
“Matagal ang FIBA eh, so depende yan. Last week pa ni-request yun pero di pa sumasagot kasi may protocol yan,” said Marcial.
“Hindi kami pwuede dumiretso sa FIBA, dapat SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) to FIBA. Eh sumulat na din kami at sinasabi lang ng (Thailand) Federation nila, he can play as a local player, but sa rules natin, di puwede sa natin ang naturalized, dapat eligible to play sa FIBA,” he added.
The youthful Lamb is coming off a stint in the Thailand Basketball League where his Hitech team reached the Finals recently. He averaged 17.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
The Batang Pier though remain in high gear, especially after winning their last three outings since opening the Governors Cup with four straight losses.
GlobalPort will be shooting for its fourth straight win when it faces league-leader TNT on Wednesday’s curtain raiser at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – Richard Dy
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava