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‘DISRESPECT TO THE LEAGUE’

PBA takes offense on players being poached overseas

/ 05:15 AM October 23, 2021
Ricky Vargas

FILE PHOTO –Ricky Vargas. INQUIRER

With so many cage talents leaving to play for bigger bucks, the PBA is now drawing the line in the wake of poaching attempts by pro leagues in neighboring Asian countries.

Ricky Vargas, who is serving a second term as the chair of Asia’s pioneering pro league, told the Inquirer on Friday that the league is reaching out to neighboring leagues in order to address what is now a big PBA concern after a number of star national team players left and with reports that more PBA superstars are being eyed.

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Those reports of new talents happens to also be very close to Vargas’ home.

“We should actually sit down and talk about this. It shouldn’t be just a matter of money. This is an invasion and a disrespect to the league,” he said. “Just because you have more money to offer doesn’t mean you’re free to poach any player, right?”

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“Even in the private sector, there’s ethical standards on poaching,” he went on.

Vargas was reacting after he had gotten wind of teams in the Japan B.League reportedly being interested in TNT stars Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy. Vargas is the Tropang Giga’s representative to the PBA board.

“There’s been plenty of news [of poaching]. I’ve also heard it has reached our team, too. Troy (Rosario) and (RR) Pogoy have become poaching targets,” he said with a nervous chuckle. “It is alarming.”

There is also the recent development involving guard Jordan Heading, who signed with the Taichung Suns, a pro club belonging to Taiwan’s T1 league.

Heading’s signing was a clear violation of his pact with the PBA, where his rights currently belong to Terrafirma after he was selected in a special draft that loans PBA players to the national cage program.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) was quick to sound the alarm on the Heading case, announcing late Thursday night that it has reached out to the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) and the Taiwanese league notifying that the Filipino-Australian playmaker is under contract with the SBP until March 2023, four months before the Basketball World Cup which the Philippines is cohosting.

Vargas said that such a complication could have been avoided had the Taiwanese league reached out.

“Whatever happened to due diligence?” he said. “The problem is that’s no longer being done.”

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TAGS: Basketball, PBA, Ricky Vargas, Tropang Giga
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