PBA limit of five Fil-foreigners per team comes under scrutiny amid MPBL controversy
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has renewed the league’s support and acceptance of foreign-born Pinoy standouts, but admitted there are no plans in the meantime to revisit rules on the matter. Jerome Ascano  

THE PBA is sticking to its rule of five Filipino-foreign players per team amid the outcry over the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s (MBPL) own rule of just one Fil-foreigner per club.

With the MPBL taking the heat after implementing a Fil-foreign rule that many feel is 'racist and discriminatory,' the PBA’s own policy regarding Fil-foreigners has also come into question.

Retired Fil-Am PBA star and current Alaska assistant coach Jeff Cariaso made his comments about the MPBL and the PBA’s rules on the matter in his retweet of SPIN.ph’s story about Ray Parks making a stand against the MPBL rule.

“Are we back in 1999? Let’s make it hard for the Fil-Ams to play out here. SMH. If you have a Filipino passport, you have all the rights of a local player. You shouldn’t be labeled. Head up @ray1parks,” Cariaso posted.

The former national player suggested a rule that would exempt Fil-foreigners with at least 10 years experience from the rule.

“Since we’re on the topic, maybe we can ask @pbaconnect and Commissioner Willie about the 5 Fil-Foreigner rule per PBA Team. If you played 10 years in the PBA, I say they take you off that list. You’ve paid your dues. Equality after 10,” he said in a separate post.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has renewed the league’s support to and acceptance of foreign-born Pinoy standouts, but admitted there are no plans in the meantime to revisit rules on the matter.

“As of now, wala pa tayong planong i-revisit (ang rule),” Marcial told SPIN.ph on Thursday. “Pero ganun pa rin tayo. Welcome talaga sila sa atin.” 

“Global na tayo eh,” he added. “Sa NBA, hindi nga (nag-didiscriminate). Sa atin, global na tayo. May karapatan din yung Fil-Am kasi Pilipino rin sila, ‘di ba?”

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Agent Matthew Manotoc, who handles a handful of Fil-Am players, once aired his desire to have changes made on the PBA's rule on Fil-foreigners.

 Another retired Fil-Am PBA player, Erik Menk, joined the critics who have aired their displeasure over the MBPL’s rule in his Staying Major Podcast.

Menk rattled off “two or three” Fil-foreigners that the MPBL should instead allow, while also relating it to the PBA’s own rule.

“I don’t think the PBA should have a team that’s ninety percent Fil-foreign. I don’t think that. But I also think that there shouldn’t be rules in place discriminating against one group of citizens,” Menk said.

“Only having one per team at a certain height limit doesn’t make much sense to me in my line of thinking or the way I would go about things,” the outspoken former league MVP added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos