PBA, Korean Basketball League work on strengthening ties

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2022 01:28 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2022 01:41 PM

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial with KBL Commissioner Kim Hee Ok. Handout photo
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial with KBL Commissioner Kim Hee Ok. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines -- PBA commissioner Willie Marcial met with his counterpart from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) on Tuesday night, with the two executives stressing the importance of improving communication between their leagues. 

KBL commissioner Kim Hee Ok is in town for the inaugural grouping ceremony of the East Asia Super League (EASL), held Tuesday afternoon at the Shangri-La at The Fort. 

He met with Marcial over dinner later that day, with the goal of strengthening the ties between the two leagues, especially with the KBL recently expanding their Asian Player Quota program to include Filipino cagers.

"Ang sabi niya [Kim], ang importante sa kanila is 'yung exchanges ng players," Marcial told reporters on Wednesday. "Ang sabi ko 'pag ganyan, kailangan may constant communication."

Just this month, Ateneo de Manila University's SJ Belangel, Far Eastern University's RJ Abarrientos, and former De La Salle-College of St. Benilde standout Justin Gutang signed professional contracts with KBL teams.

Marcial noted that the PBA has no control over the decisions of the college players, but the PBA is open to Kim's proposal of player exchanges for as long as it is approved by the PBA Board, and the teams involved can come to terms.

"Hanggang sa pro lang tayo," he said. "Kailangan ko makita muna ang proposal nila, para mapakita ko rin sa Board at mapag-usapan kung papaano talaga ang proseso."

"Ang maganda, mag-usap tayo at ayusin natin ang relationship," Marcial also said. "Sabi ko, ang importante sa akin dito, habang commissioner ako, 'yung relationship."

Marcial is also set to go to Japan in September for further discussions with the B.League, after which he will stop by South Korea to watch KBL games. 

The B.League, like the KBL, has emerged as a destination for Filipino players in recent years.