MANILA, Philippines – After another round of negotiations finished on Friday in Tokyo, THE Philippine Basketball Association and the Japan B. League will keep looking for methods to maintain their relationship and mutual understanding.
When the two sides met at the B.League office next to Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, the 47-year-old league, led by Board chairman Ricky Vargas and commissioner Willie Marcial, presented a six-point discussion to their Japanese counterparts, led by chairman Shinji Shimada.
The PBA’s paper’s main points focused on players’ commitment to representing their country and respecting their contracts with teams.
Vargas stated in a statement, “We are here to reach out for mutual respect and improve relations for betterment of both leagues.”
“The keyword is cooperation,” the chairman constructively adds. “Recent events whereby our players accepted offers to play in Japan have hurt not only our league, but our national team training development as well.”
Following their initial meeting last June during the East Asia Super League (EASL) drawing of lots, the two sides met again.
Players from the PBA have found themselves performing in the B League over the past two years, including Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks, and more recently Matthew Wright, Greg Slaughter, and Roosevelt Adams.
After accepting the offer from Shiga Lakes while still bound to NLEX, Ravena even caused a hornet’s nest to stir.
Other collegiate athletes, such as Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, Jordan Heading, Justin Baltazar, Rhenz Abando, SJ Belangel, Justin Gutang, and RJ Abarrientos, also chose to play in Japan, the Korean Basketball League (KBL), and the T League and P League+ in Chinese Taipei.
Vargas emphasized, “If we continue this way of engaging Philippine players without prior clearance from our league, it may sadly blemish our friendship.” Vargas, however, asserted that because basketball is now a free market, the PBA understands when players choose to play in Japan or other foreign leagues.
“But a little courtesy lang naman. Mag-usap ng maayos. Respect each other,” shares the TNT governor. “Sabi ko nga sa kanila (Japanese), I saw a large display hanging in your office that has the word ‘Respect,’ yun lang naman ang kailangan ng bawat isa sa atin.
“So we have to tell them what it is, as it is. We sort of framed what we wanted to say and we delivered the message very clearly.”
(But it’s just a little courtesy. Talk properly. Respect each other,” said the TNT governor. “I said to them (Japanese), I saw a large display hanging in your office that has the word ‘Respect,’ that is all that each of us needs.
So we have to tell them what it is, as it is. We sort of framed what we wanted to say and we delivered the message very clearly.)
While maintaining that the B League adheres to all international regulations, Shimada appreciated the PBA Board for directly expressing its concern.
The B League chairman who is formerly the head of the Chiba Jets franchise clarifies, “However, I understand the situation and your concern.”
Shimada acknowledged that many Filipino players have traveled to Japan as well as other nations like Australia and Europe since the B League started its Asian Players Quota 2 two years ago.
Shimada and his staff are scheduled to visit the Philippines right before the year closes, so the two leagues mutually decided to meet again and continue the conversation about the issue.
“As commissioner (Willie) Marcial suggested, we keep the conversation going. We plan to visit Manila on Dec. 21 and have a discussion then, too,” Shimada responds on the topic.
“We look forward to continuing talking so we can reach a working agreement that enhances our relationship,” Vargas then clarifies for his part.
“As good neighbors, the path of cooperation is always the best way to settle our differences. With due respect,” he adds.
In addition to Marcial and Vargas, the PBA team included Bobby Rosales, the vice chairman, and Atty. Alfrancis Chua, Erick Arejola, Raymond Zorrilla, Atty. Dioceldo Sy, the owner of the Blackwater squad, Chito Salud, Atty. Bill Pamintuan, Silliman Sy, Robert Non, and Rod Franco.
The group also includes PBA attorney Atty. Melvin Mendoza, Eric Castro, Odessa Encarnacio, the finance officer, and Angela “Mich” Flores, the social media director.
PBA Players in the B League
Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, Matt Aquino, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Kemark Cariño.