Reports have said that NLEX star Kiefer Ravena has gotten an offer from a professional league in Japan where the possibility of joining younger brother Thirdy looms.
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) chair Ricky Vargas is aware of this, and he is also aware of the fact that other players in Asia’s pioneering pro league could be getting offers of their own in the future. So what does the PBA do?
“The problem is deeper than what we are facing, but we want to face the problem squarely,” Vargas told the Inquirer Thursday night. “Poaching of talent from our country has been happening for ages—our doctors, nurses, etc. have gone abroad because of offers to work there.”
Vargas, who represents TNT in the board of governors, has dealt with a similar problem before, when Jayson Castro, the Tropang Giga’s franchise player, was offered an astronomical sum by a China pro team to play just one season there two years ago.
“But they also have to think about the sustainability of those offers. They (PBA players) should keep an open mind and understand the scenario fully,” he said.
Vargas knows that no one can stop those players from leaving to make a better living.
But he believes that this should be a tripartite decision, meaning that the PBA should be involved together with its mother team and the country’s cage federation, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, to ensure that every Filipino player who leaves is taken care of and will be available for national duty when called upon.
“If you look at our laws, it would be easy to say na hindi puede yan. But we need to open our horizons. This is the result of the PBA being the best league in the country where our talents are seen internationally,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling if you think about it, but you have to look at it from a bigger lens.”
Vargas pointed out that Filipino players can get a better feel of the international brand of play by seeing action abroad, hence, benefiting the national cage program. “Will you stop them, or let them continue to develop as players abroad?”
The league chair, in an earlier Inquirer report, said that the commission they are planning to put up to deal with the Ray Parks Jr. sabbatical saga will also handle the Kiefer case and similar ones to follow.
He does have one reminder to all of those who will get offers like that:
“The PBA is the first league that gave you a break. It’s their university of basketball and no one would be seeing them if not for the PBA,” he said. “So it is just right that we are involved, together with the mother teams and the national federation.”
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