Marcial clarifies no final agreement yet between PBA, Korean league

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2022 11:02 AM | Updated as of Apr 19 2022 11:21 AM

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. File photo
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- The PBA has yet to reach a formal agreement with the Korean Basketball League (KBL) regarding the hiring of Filipino players as Asian imports, the league commissioner said.

Reports from Korean media on Monday said that the KBL has expanded its Asian player quota program to include Filipino players. KBL teams were previously allowed to hire Japanese basketball players.

Among the reported conditions of the KBL is that the Filipino player must have first seen action in the PBA or a local league before being hired as an import.

"Wala pang final na usapan," PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday morning. "Maganda naman 'yung usapan, pero wala pang final."

The KBL has been in talks with the PBA since January over this matter, with the Korean league seeking "cooperation and strengthening of relationships," per Marcial.

According to the commissioner, the KBL informed them of their intent to expand their Asian player quota and hire Filipino imports in an email last week. The PBA will only discuss the matter in Tuesday's board meeting, however.

"Sabi ko sa kanila, sasabihin ko lahat ito sa board meeting namin today. Pag-uusapan lang namin, tapos sasagutin ulit," said Marcial.

"Wala pang formal agreement," he stressed.

Several Filipino players have taken their talents overseas in the past couple of years, starting with Thirdy Ravena who signed with the San-En NeoPhoenix in Japan's B.League. 

He was followed by his own brother, Kiefer Ravena, who gained permission from the PBA to play for the Shiga Lakestars for one season. Other Filipinos in the B.League include Kobe Paras (Niigata Albirex), Javi Gomez de Liano (Ibaraki Robots), Dwight Ramos (Toyoma Grouses), and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins).

Taiwan's T1 League has also emerged as another destination for Filipino players, with the likes of Jason Brickman (Kaohsiung Aquas) and Caelan Tiongson (Taoyuan Leopards) seeing action in the league.