PBA takes strong stance against ‘unprofessional poachers’

PBA chair Ricky Vargas during the pre-season press conference on Monday. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—PBA chair Ricky Vargas lashed out at “unprofessional poachers” amid the exodus of young talents to other leagues overseas.

The past couple of years saw a slew of the country’s basketball standouts take their acts abroad—specifically in the Japan B.League.

“This is the principle of the PBA. We’re trying to fight against these unprofessional poachers who have nothing in mind but to get piece from the players,” said Vargas on Monday during the press conference for the league’s 47th season.

“So we will go headstrong against those whose only intentions are to poach from the PBA, and who are mercenaries and gain compensations because they’re going to be in the PBA.”

Ravena brothers Kiefer and Thirdy, Ray Parks and Dwight Ramos are just among the few stars who signed contracts with their respective clubs in the B.League.

Just recently, La Salle star Justine Baltazar became the latest to join the B.League as part of the Hiroshima Dragonflies, spurning the PBA Draft despite being among the projected top picks.


Crack Fil-American playmaker Jason Brickman, who was deemed ineligible for last year’s draft due to the league’s initial rule on Fil-foreigners, also decided to skip the 2022 draft and remain with the Kaohsiung Aquas in the T1 League in Taiwan.

“We have also been the favorite hunting ground for unregistered agents who does nothing. Para silang nasa forest, they just hunt and hunt. And it’s been detrimental to the PBA,” said Vargas.

“As you know, it’s very hard to compete with other groups especially outside of the country because their currencies are much more valuable than our currency,” he added.

Despite the PBA being at a disadvantage when it comes to money matters, Vargas remains upbeat about the league’s standing.

“So far we managed to stay whole, and managed to stay together. And this is very important,” he said.

“I wish some of our players will begin to think that this is their home, where they can build, this is their home where they can stay, and this is their home where we will welcome them back,” added Vargas. “As the experience of some players going overseas and staying there for two, three years, they’re beginning to rethink their positions.”


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