MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is not threatened by the possibility of potential draftees heading to foreign leagues, after Thirdy Ravena's decision to play professional basketball in Japan.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas believes that players who ply their trade abroad are still likely to find their way back to the Philippines.
"Hindi naman," Vargas said last Tuesday, during the PSA Forum, when asked if foreign leagues such as the B.League or New Zealand's National Basketball League are a threat to the PBA.
Ravena, a three-time UAAP champion with Ateneo de Manila University, opted not to declare for the PBA Draft after his collegiate career, instead pursuing opportunities abroad.
Kenneth Tuffin, the captain of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, is currently playing in the NBL as an amateur in order to keep his UAAP eligibility.
"It's just a delay, because our rules say … they have two years to join the PBA," said Vargas.
"This joining of other leagues, it's not 10 months of playing eh. It's just a conference," he added. "So they will have to rethink that, whether they'd like to join that conference or to join the PBA, which is more secure in terms of what they're doing, and closer to home."
"May security ka sa PBA," he stressed.
Under PBA rules, a player has two years since finishing his collegiate career to declare for the rookie draft. If he skips the draft for two years, he is at risk of being banned by the league.
Ravena signed with the San-En NeoPhoenix for one year, with the B.League's new season expected to begin in October.
He is the first Filipino to play in the B.League under its Asian Player Quota system.
Vargas also noted that the PBA was actually the first league to hire Asian imports, back in 2015 and 2016.
"Tayo nag-umpisa noon," he said. "In fairness to (former PBA chairman) Pato Gregorio, he introduced the Asian talent. We were the first to do that."
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