The PBA has taken a strong stand against ‘amateur poachers’

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas at a pre-season press conference on Monday.  PBA picture

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas at a pre-season press conference on Monday. PBA picture

Ricky Vargas, chair of the Manila, Philippines-PBA, sneers at “amateur smugglers” as young talents exit other leagues abroad.

The past few years have seen a number of the country’s basketball standouts work abroad – especially in the Japan B-League.

“It simply came to our notice then. We are trying to fight these unprofessional poachers who have nothing in mind but to tear the players apart, ”Vargas told a news conference for the league’s 47th season on Monday.

“So we will be tough on those whose sole purpose is to hunt down the PBA, and those who are hired and get compensation because they will stay in the PBA.”

Ravenna brothers Kifer and Thirty, Ray Parks and Dwight Ramos are some of the stars who have signed contracts with their respective clubs in the B-League.

Recently, La Salle star Justin Baltzer became the latest to join the B-League as part of the Hiroshima Dragonflies, despite being among the top picks projected, the PBA rejected the draft.

‘Favorite Hunting Ground’

Crack-Phil-American playmaker Jason Brickman, who was deemed ineligible for last year’s draft because of the league’s initial rules on Phil-foreigners, also decided to skip the 2022 draft and stay with Kaohsiung Aquas in Taiwan’s T1 league.

“We have also become a favorite hunting ground for unregistered agents who do nothing. In the neighboring Shillong NASA forest, they just hunt and hunt. And it’s detrimental to the PBA, “said Vargas.

“You know, it’s very difficult to compete with other groups, especially outside the country, because their currency is much more valuable than our currency,” he added.

Despite the PBA having a problem with finances, Vargas is excited about the league’s position.

“So far we have been able to stay together perfectly. And that’s very important, “he said.

“I hope some of our players will start to think that this is their home, where they can build, this is their home where they can stay and this is their home where we will welcome them,” added Vargas. “Because of the experience of some players going abroad and having been there for two or three years, they have started to reconsider their position.”

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