PBA chairman Ricky Vargas doesn’t see the interest of international clubs in Filipino players such as Thirdy Ravena as a threat to the pro league.
Vargas believes blue-chip Filipino players who will opt to play abroad will still likely to return and suit up in the PBA in the future.
“Hindi naman,” said Vargas, when asked if Ravena’s signing could be a threat to the PBA during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. “It just delays [his stint in the PBA].”
Ravena recently signed up with San-en NeoPhoenix, becoming the first Filipino player to suit up in the Japan B.League.
Suspended Phoenix LPG star Calvin Abueva has also gained interest from a Japanese club, along with San Miguel's Terrence Romeo.
Aside from a chance to play in a top-caliber league, Filipino players stand a chance to receive a financial windfall in Japan as the prevailing rate of a B.League player during the 2018-2019 season was around Y16.1 million or P7.5 million a season.
But even with the interest from foreign ballclubs, Vargas said the PBA remains the most secure destination for Filipino basketball players.
“They will have to rethink if they join that conference (season) or two or join the PBA which is more secure with what they are doing and closer to home,” said Vargas.
The TNT KaTropa governor reiterated the existing PBA rule where a player eligible to turn pro will be banned if they fail to apply for the draft for two consecutive years.
But Ravena’s situation could be a different case since he has told PBA commissioner Willie Marcial about his future plans, he added.
“Si Thirdy naman didn’t apply for the draft but he informed the commissioner that he was looking at playing in Japan,” Vargas said.
"As of this time, the rule hasn’t changed," he added.