PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas agreed that naturalized Filipinos who served the country should be given the chance to see action in the league.
This comes after former Gilas Pilipinas reinforcements Andray Blatche and Marcus Douthit took to Twitter weeks ago to express their desire to play.
“Our naturalized players who have served the country should at least be given a chance to play with us,” he told Radyo5’s Power and Play. Saturday.
Last December 26, Blatche suddenly replied to a tweet by the league during the TNT-Rain or Shine Governors’ Cup tiff with, “I wanna come play.”
Douthit then followed suit two days later. He tweeted the league asking when will the league allow naturalized cagers like him to play as locals.
The 41-year-old had already played in the PBA before, although as an import. He suited up for Air21 in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, before representing Blackwater in the 2015 edition of the mid-season conference.
Blatche, unlike his predecessor, never played in the PBA. But he was considered by NLEX twice for the same tilt — first in 2014, and in 2019 on the condition that Gilas qualified for the World Cup in China which it did.
That was the time when Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao was also serving as the Filipino dribblers’ chief bench tactician.
Their tweets subsequently reignited the long-standing debate whether or not naturalized players like them should play as locals in the league.
While he admitted that the PBA has yet to take a much deeper look into the matter, Vargas effectively expressed openness into that idea.
“Sa ngayon, the door is closed pa on that, that they become a local player in the pro league. We have not looked at it favorably at the moment,” he said.
“But this is, again, the changing landscape of basketball,” added the long-time sports figure, who’s also the governor of the TNT Tropang Giga.
“If they can play in the national team, why can’t they play in the PBA?”
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