PBA board stays firm: No Japan stint for Ravena
The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) leadership on Saturday reiterated that the league will prohibit Kiefer Ravena from playing in Japan to protect the sanctity of the contract.
“The Board had decided that Kiefer has to honor his contract with NLEX and with the PBA,” Ricky Vargas, the league’s chair and TNT’s team governor said in a hastily-arranged late afternoon presser.
“Breaking that will be difficult for us to manage moving forward,” Vargas added.
The Inquirer, quoting an unimpeachable source, reported earlier this week that the PBA will rein in Ravena’s bid to play in Japan’s B.League with the Shiga Lakestars, which announced on Wednesday its signing of the former Ateneo hotshot.
Ravena’s younger brother, Thirdy, already plays in the B.League for San-En NeoPhoenix.Asia’s pioneering pro league is set to reach out to its Japanese counterpart by way of a letter detailing the “facts” pertinent to Ravena’s contract with NLEX, which is projected to run until 2022.
“I know for the fans of Kiefer, this is a let down,” Vargas said. “But [the Board] thought that the PBA also will have to be protected.”
The Inquirer source said the league feared a potential precedent, opening floodgates that might never be sealed shut, if it approved Ravena’s transfer to Japan—something that Vargas also said made the board wary about using a buyout to remedy the situation.
“We have [considered a buyout],” he said. “That’s how things are in the [National Basketball Association], right? They’d just buy out the contracts. You know, the consequence of that is very difficult for us because their currency is much higher and they can buy you out any time.”
“So we have to be a little bit careful in discussing that matter if we’d allow a foreign team to buy out a contract [for] a player,” Vargas added.Terrafirma’s Bobby Rosales, the league’s vice chair who also heads a study group tasked to review PBA’s policies, insisted that the ruling is not a mere knee-jerk reaction.
“The decision of the Board has basis,” he said. “It was not arbitrary.”
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