'Crab mentality': Pinoy imports speak up amid 'poaching' allegations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2022 03:30 PM

Gilas Pilipinas forward Will Navarro was not given his clearance to play in the KBL. FIBA.basketball
Gilas Pilipinas forward Will Navarro was not given his clearance to play in the KBL. FIBA.basketball


MANILA, Philippines -- Former Barangay Ginebra center Greg Slaughter did not mince words in reacting to news of the PBA meeting with their counterparts from Japan's B.League this week. 

It was reported that PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas told officials of the B.League that the recent "exodus" of Filipino players to Japan has had a negative impact not just on the local league, but on the national team as well. 

It's an issue that has reached the Philippine Senate. During a meeting with the Committee on Sports last week, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio admitted that he was concerned about Filipino players being "poached" by overseas leagues.

A handful of Filipinos have opted to take their talents abroad in recent years, with the Japan B.League and the Korean Basketball League (KBL) becoming their chief destinations. Ten Filipinos will play in Japan for the 2022-23 season of the B.League, while six players signed on to be Asian imports in the KBL.

Slaughter, reacting to Vargas' statement that the "poaching" of players have hurt the PBA and Gilas Pilipinas, offered a strongly-worded tweet.

"TOTAL BS and crab mentality at its highest," said Slaughter, who will play for B.League Division 2 side Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka this season.

"The PBA slammed the door on me and my family, days before my daughter was born," he added. "I played seven years and publicly made myself available to the NT [national team]. Respect the true ethics of the game of basketball and fair competition, PBA."

Slaughter adds that he is grateful that Filipino players can represent the nation in overseas leagues, and that he is honored to "join the millions of others working as OFWs."

Meanwhile, Kai Sotto raised the alarm after William Navarro -- one of his former teammates in Gilas -- was not allowed to suit up for KBL side Seoul Samsung after failing to get a clearance from the SBP.

Navarro is a full-time Gilas Pilipinas player who was drafted by NorthPort in the special round of the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft. His contract with the national team runs until 2023. 

Sotto, on his social media accounts, was critical of the SBP's decision not to clear Navarro for his KBL club. 

"I'm sorry but this is crazy. This has to stop," said Sotto. "You got players who've been working hard and dreaming to play basketball at the highest level they can reach, and we got our own people stopping us from achieving greatness."

It's not only the Filipino players who have spoken out against recent comments and decisions made by the local stakeholders of basketball. 

Former De La Salle University superstar Ben Mbala, a two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player, said that the players suiting up abroad are "grown-up men with kids and families." "They know what's better for them and their families," he said.

"What if they want to play abroad, experience different types of basketball, environment, competition?" he pointed out.

Mbala has played in several leagues overseas after his departure from the Green Archers.

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