THE PBA board said Kiefer Ravena must honor his live contract with NLEX and the league as it thumbed down his bid to play for the Shiga Lakestars in the Japanese B.League.
The decision was made after a special board meeting held on Saturday.
"The PBA board had decided that Kiefer has to honor his contract with NLEX and with the PBA,” said PBA chairman Ricky Vargas in an online press conference.
Vargas said the PBA will officially inform the Japanese B.League about its decision and the rationale behind it.
The PBA chairman also said it will also relay the league decision to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), which coordinates international player transfers with world governing body Fiba.
The board decision is the latest setback in Ravena's desire to head overseas after he and the Lakestars announcing the signing on Wednesday.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the decision will be relayed to Ravena himself.
Vargas said the PBA board studied Ravena’s situation from all angles during the meeting. At the end of the day, the league decided against the NLEX guard’s move to Japan as the sanctity of a contract must be respected.
“The philosophy is basically the sanctity of the contract,” said Vargas during a hastily-called press conference. “Breaking a contract is going to be difficult for us to manage moving forward.”
Earlier this week, the Shiga Lakestars announced it has signed Ravena to play for the 2021-2022 season of the Japanese B.League, following the footsteps of his younger brother Thirdy, who played for San-En Neophoenix last season.
Shortly after the announcement, however, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said that the move is not allowed under league rules since Ravena signed a Uniform Players Contract (UPC) with NLEX and the league that remains binding.
For his part, PBA vice chairman Bobby Rosales said the league is also avoiding a possible bad precedent if it allows Ravena to suit up in Japan while still under contract with NLEX.
“That was the primary reason for the decision of the board. It’s really that the contract is a legal document that should not be broken. We don’t like the consequences and avoid the consequences if a contract is broken. We just hope that the party concerned will realize the sanctity of a contract,” said Rosales.
Marcial said he will inform the decision of the board personally.
“Gusto nila (fans). Gusto din namin. Pero may kontrata tayong sinusunod. May kontrata tayong sinusunod. Hindi natin puwedeng palagpasin yun,” said Marcial said.
The PBA declined to speculate on the repercussions if Ravena decides to defy the board’s decision and still opts to suit up for the Lakestars.