September 17, 2022 | 10:51 a.m.
TOKYO — The officials of the Philippine Basketball Association and the Japan B.League, in a meeting here on Friday, both expressed their willingness to take the path of friendship and cooperation with their similar goal of further boosting the sport of basketball in the Philippines and Japan.
PBA President Ricky Vargas and Commissioner Willie Marcial led the PBA delegation that visited their B. League counterparts at the latter’s headquarters in the heart of the Japanese capital.
JBL President Shinji Shimada, International Development Manager Chihiro Saito and International Development Manager Ayumi Yamamoto welcomed the PBA group.
With the President of the PBA and the Commissioner of the PBA in a brief meeting, Dioceldo Sy, owner of the Blackwater team, the governors of the PBA Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, Alfrancis Chua of Barangay Ginebra, Rod Franco of NLEX, Bill Pamintuan of Meralco, Erick Arejola of NorthPort, Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma, Chito Salud of Converge, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix Fuel and Silliman Sy of Blackwater, Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro, Legal Counsel Melvin Mendoza and Media Officer social Michelle Flores.
Vargas said they came in friendship and seek mutual understanding, respect and improved relations for the good of both leagues.
“The key word is cooperation. Recent events in which our players have accepted offers to play in Japan have harmed not only our league, but also the training and development of our national team,” Vargas said. “If we continue this way of hiring Filipino players without prior permission from our league, it could unfortunately damage our friendship.”
The PBA President mentioned that the Philippine government, especially the Senate, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and FIBA have taken notice of the situation.
Filipino players now strutting around in the B.League include Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena and Matthew Wright.
While understanding the ‘free market’, Vargas underlined the importance of respect, raising some specific points, first and foremost respecting the playing contract.
He called on the league and the teams in Japan to respect the players’ contract, the players’ commitment to play in the national team, respect each other’s league rules and policies, respect the rules and ideals of FIBA, respect for the education of young people and authorized agents accredited by the league.
“As good neighbours, the path of cooperation is always the best way to settle our differences,” Vargas said to end his message to League B officials.
In response, the B. League president said he understood the situation and the PBA’s concern, and expressed his desire to continue speaking with PBA officials.
“As the commissioner (Marcial) suggested, we are continuing the conversation,” Shimada said, adding their plans to travel to Manila in December.