Norwood to Play or Not to Play

On: 19 June 2009

Gabe Norwood

There is no doubt in everyone's mind that Gabe Norwood will be a great addition to any team competing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). The 6'5" player from George Mason University can play multiple positions on the floor that earned him the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) Rookie of the Year. He possess great talent that is just very hard to miss.

The only problem is that the PBA doe not consider him a Filipino yet. PBA sources revealed that Norwood has yet to submit two vital and authentic documents that will back up his eligibility for the upcoming PBA Draft on 31 August 2008 despite his possession of a Philippine passport.

The PBA requires that Norwood submit a certificate of affirmation from the Department of Justice and a certificate from the Bureau of Immigration authenticating his Filipino roots.

According to PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios, “As of now, he is not eligible (for the Draft). Possessing a Philippine passport is not a be-all and end-all document that enables a player to join the Draft.”

The strict compliance to documentary requirements was adopted by the PBA Governors to prevent committing the same mistake that tarnished the image of the PBA a couple of years ago during the height of the 'Fil-Shams' problem (i.e. Parker, Segova, Alvarado).

What Norwood and his agent, Mark Chan, had presented so far to the PBA is a ‘position paper’ submitted by Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Raul Gonzales to Department of Foreign Affair (DFA) chief Alberto Romulo last 2007.

In that letter, Gonzales said that Norwood ‘can be considered a Filipino because his mother, Tiffiney Sainte Hardy, was a minor when she gave birth to the cager (on 09 February 1985 in North Carolina) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Being a minor who had no chance to elect Philippine citizenship, Tiffiney has dual citizenship despite her marriage to an Afro-American,” the letter stated.

Because of that ‘position paper,’ Norwood was able to acquire a Philippine passport, and was chosen as one of the players to represent the country in the FIBA Asia Qualifying Tournament in Tokushima, Japan last year.

If all else fail to materialize on 29 August, the deadline set by the PBA, reports had it that Norwood's camp will try to bring his case to officials in MalacaƱang Palace and get a 'presidential clearance' that will help fast-track his application. Does this mean 'palakasan system' will be used to get through the bureaucratic red tapes?

Anyway, despite the reported option being pursued, Barrios said that the PBA Board still need the authenticatec requirements.

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