PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said the league would set a bad precedent if it allowed Kiefer Ravena to play for the Shiga Lakestars in the Japanese B.League while having a live contract with NLEX.
Vargas said the board had a thorough discussion during Saturday’s meeting to discuss the case involving Ravena, who decided to play in Japan despite having a live contract with his mother ballclub.
In the end, Vargas went against allowing Ravena to play in Japan due to the Uniform Players Contract (UPC) it signed with NLEX and the PBA.
“It was a discussion and the board looked at the possible scenarios and the risk of the scenarios,” Vargas said. “We came up with his decision that it is best that we follow strictly the policy of not breaking contracts as we felt there are more negatives if we allow such to happen.”
“It was a difficult decision for us, the officers of the PBA,” Vargas said.
The Lakestars announced that Ravena will be playing for the 2021-2022 season of the Japanese B.League, with a press conference set on Monday for the team to introduce their new signee.
But the PBA warned shortly after the announcement that such move is not allowed because Ravena remains under contract with NLEX as well as the team due to the UPC.
NLEX gave Ravena the blessing to play in Japan, but left the decision to the PBA board on whether it will allow the former Ateneo cager to suit up overseas.
Vargas, the TNT governor, said allowing Ravena to play abroad while still under contract with NLEX could spark similar issues in the future.
“It’s going to be a difficult precedence not only for us the PBA but for Fiba. Fiba is also very strict about adhering to the contracts and SBP. It is such a big precedent even in amateur sports where movement of players are subject to the rules of the league. When you talk about the UAAP and the NCAA, they even have sit-out periods. That’s the consequence of making a handshake,” said Vargas.
Vargas hopes that the fans will understand the league’s decision.
“I understand where the fans are coming from and Kiefer, hopefully, will stay with us. Mapapanood nila si Kiefer maglaro sa PBA and we are doing all we can to have a conference in the PBA. We are still on target for a two-conference,” said Vargas.
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