Korean Basketball League reaches out to PBA on possible player transfers

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2022 03:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Korean Basketball League (KBL) has formally reached out to the PBA in the hopes of "strengthening relationships," while also bringing up the possibility of player transfers.

This, according to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial who welcomed the chance to work with the Korean league and its commissioner, Kim Hee-Ok.

"Sinulatan tayo ng KBL, binabati tayo na natapos natin 'yung liga natin," said Marcial during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. 

"Gusto niya ng cooperation and strengthening of relationships, friendship, ang sinabi niya doon," Marcial said of Kim's letter. "Sinagot naman natin na, natutuwa din kami na umaandar din 'yung liga nila. At ano, talagang kailangan mag-usap tayo para ma-strengthen 'yung ating relationship."

Among the specifics of Kim's letter, according to Marcial, is the possibility of exchanging players between their two leagues.

The KBL is already in cooperation with Japan's B.League, as the Korean league established an "Asian Player Quota" that allows its teams to sign one Japanese player each.

The KBL wants to expand its Asian Player Quota program to include players from the Philippines, among other neighboring Asian countries. The moves come at a time when Filipino players are taking their talents abroad, with several cagers already playing in Japan.

"Gusto niya na mag-usap ang PBA at KBL, kung paano magpalitan ng players," said Marcial. "Kung ano ang pwede. So, maganda 'yun."

Marcial has been encouraged by PBA chairman Ricky Vargas to "engage" with the KBL on this issue, possibly to avoid another situation similar to what occurred with Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks Jr.

Both players found themselves in contract standoffs with their mother teams in the PBA before being eventually released, paving the way for their signing in the B.League. Ravena is now with the Shiga Lakestars and Parks plays for the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.

"Sinabi ko din sa board 'yan, natuwa ang board. Sabi ni chairman, so engage, engage na tayo, engage," said Marcial.

He expects to reach out to the KBL again this week to determine the next steps in a possible partnership.