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Ricky Vargas blasts ‘unlicensed’ agents ‘poaching’ players to overseas leagues


Philippine Basketball Association chairman Ricky Vargas could not help but rue once more about Filipino prospects plying their trades abroad.

Just recently, La Salle’s Justine Baltazar, a projected top pick in the 2022 PBA Rookie Draft, pulled out of the festivities to sign with B.League team Hiroshima.

And despite the exodus already happening for the past three years, the league executive hopes that future prospects realize that the PBA should be their home.

“I wish that some of our players begin to think that this is their home, their home where they can build, their home where they can stay, and their home that will welcome them back.

“And more and more, as the experience of some players going overseas, they’re staying there for two or three years, they’re beginning to rethink their position,” said Vargas during the league’s press conference held at Conrad Hotel on Monday.

“Pero ayaw talaga tayong tigilan kasi we are a talent base not only for the region but also in the greater Southeast Asian region like Australia and other areas. There is a lot of poaching,” he lamented.

Thirdy Ravena was the first homegrown Filipino prospect to play in the B.League, signing with San-En.

2020-21-B.League-San-En-vs-Shinsane-Thirdy-Ravena-standing Ricky Vargas blasts 'unlicensed' agents 'poaching' players to overseas leagues Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Photo by B.LEAGUE

Thirdy’s brother Kiefer, the Gomez de Liano bros, Kobe Paras, Dwight Ramos, Kemark Carino, and Matthew Aquino would follow suit a year later.Gilas-International-Juan-GDL-x-Kobe-Paras-x-Ray-Parks-Lebron-Lopez-x-Dwight-Ramos-x-Kai-Sotto-x-Kiefer-Ravena-x-Thirdy-Ravena-x-Javi-GDL Ricky Vargas blasts 'unlicensed' agents 'poaching' players to overseas leagues Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Meanwhile, Kai Sotto continued his pro career with NBL-Australia club team Adelaide, Kenneth Tuffin began his pro career in NZ-NBL’s Wellington, while Jordan Heading, along with Fil-Ams Jason Brickman, Caelan Tiongson, and Avery Scharer, played in Taiwan’s T1 League.

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More prospects are expected to head abroad now that the KBL has opened its doors to Filipinos.

What irks Vargas is how unlicensed agents were brokering some of the player’s deals.

“We have also been the favorite hunting ground for unregistered agents. They just hunt and they hunt and it has been detrimental to the PBA.

“Some of this poaching has been very, very unprofessional and this is what we are trying to fight against,” he stressed. “This is the principle of the PBA, we’re trying to fight against these unprofessional poachers who have nothing in mind but to get fees from these players.

“That’s why It is very important that we said we only deal with accredited agents. Otherwise, we will not be able to protect the athletes or the players,” he continued.

With the PBA’s partnership with the East Asia Super League, Vargas is looking to coordinate with the heads of the B.League, KBL, and P.League+ regarding the hiring of Filipino imports.

“In the EASL Board, Japan league is there, Korean league is there, China league is there. And it is an appropriate place for us to be able to work with them and get agreements between them,” he closed.

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