PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said that the league isn’t threatened with foreign ball clubs recruiting Filipino players.
This, following top prospect Thirdy Ravena’s recent decision to take his act to the Japan B.League.
“Hindi naman,” the amiable executive said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, powered by Smart and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, PAGCOR, Amelie Hotel, and Braska Restaurant.
For Vargas, it only stalls the arrival of blue-chip recruits in the PBA. He believes that they will likely return to their homeland in the future.
Vargas, who’s also the TNT KaTropa governor, reiterated the league’s rule on eligible players for the draft, where they have at least two years to join the league.
“It’s just a delay [in their arrival to the PBA],” he said.
“Our rule says that two years from eligibility, so they have two years to join the PBA.”
Last week, Ravena made headlines when he signed with San-en NeoPhoenix, becoming the first Filipino to play in Japan’s premier league.
Before that, Ken Tuffin was also drafted in New Zealand-NBL.
Other prospects whose two-year eligibilities are about to expire are the likes of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike, and Franky Johnson — all of whom are Chooks-to-Go 3×3 players and compete in the international FIBA 3X3 circuit.
Speaking of the B.League, it turned out that it isn’t just three-time UAAP Finals MVP Ravena that has caught the attention of Japanese teams.
Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan shared on Instagram that B.League teams have sent offers their way.
Financially speaking, the B.League — which was founded in 2015 — is indeed a viable option for players.
In a report by the Japan Times, the average base salary of a B.League player was ¥16.1 million in the 2018-19 season, or PHP 7.5 million.
Still, Vargas believes that Asia’s pioneering pro league remains the best option for Filipino cagers as far as security is concerned.
Almazan is a prime example. He politely declined the offer since he is at the start of a three-year max deal with the Meralco Bolts.
Abueva, meanwhile, said that the PBA remains his top priority, although he isn’t closing his doors on such offers abroad.
“They will have to rethink that, whether they like to join that conference or to join the PBA, which is more secure in terms of what they’re doing and closer to home,” Vargas said.
“Mas may security ka sa PBA eh.”