Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial said the Korean Basketball League and the Japan B.League have reached out to him, adding he expects this to open doors to better communication among leagues in Asia.
“‘Yung KBL sumulat sa akin and gusto makipag-meeting. ‘Yun namang Japan B.League iniimbita ako for their All-Star games. Maganda ito para may usapan na ang iba’t ibang liga,” said Marcial during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
This development came following a recruitment binge by Japan B.League teams of Filipino players as Asian imports, including Kiefer Ravena, a many-time Gilas Pilipinas member.
Ravena’s hiring by the Shiga Lakestars’ squad posed a problem for the PBA because he had an existing contract with the NLEX team then.
A compromise had been reached wherein he was allowed to play for one season in the Japan B.League. After this, he is expected to come back to his NLEX team later on to finish his contract.
Marcial said he hopes to iron out kinks with the said leagues.
“Simula na sana maging ayos ang samahan natin dito sa Asia,” Marcial added.
Other Filipino players currently seeing action in Japan and doing well are Kiefer’s brother Thirdy (San-En), Javi Gomez de liaño (Ibaraki), Juan Gomez de Liano (Tokyo Z), Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (Nagoya), Kobe Paras (Niigata), Dwight Ramos (Toyama), and Kemark Carino (Aomori).
Some of them are expected to be in the lineup of the Asia Rising Star Game on January 14 next year during the All-Star Weekend of the B.League.
Matthew Aquino, son of former three-time PBA champion and Defensive Player of the Year Marlou Aquino, signed up with first division team Shinshu Brave Warriors not as an Asian import, but as a local because his mother is Japanese.
PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas said the PBA also forged an alliance with other leagues through the East Asia Super League, which has given board seats to member leagues in Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines.
“The intention to be there is so that we can also have stronger ties with the four leagues in the region. When we do have stronger ties, we will see to it that we respect each others’ rights in terms of the movement of players. Better coordination in terms of movement of players,” said Vargas.