MPBL: Team officials react to league ruling on ‘Fil-foreign’ players

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2018 08:19 PM

Officials representing various clubs of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s (MPBL) shared their reaction to the rule limiting the number of "Fil-foreign" players to one per team and the requisite 6-foot-4 height limit. 

And some of them agreed with the rule.

Pio Castillo Jr., who represents the expansion team Cebu Sharks, said it will be good for their club.

“For Cebu Sharks team it would be more favorable because that will promote proper balance across all participating teams,” he said.

“We all know based on other leagues in terms of advantages, if you have bigger, heftier players that’s a great plus to your team. So basically we are favorable to the policy being imposed by the MPBL to the management.”

For Voltaire Ora, team owner of the Valenzuela Classic, the rule should stand while the league is still in its infancy. This, however, could change in the future, he said.

“I think for now it's OK. It's their rule, maybe later on pwedeng dagdagan to amp the competition,” he said.

Ora said teams who oppose such ruling should do a better job of sourcing their players since the league’s mission is to tap talents from the grassroots.

“Pwede din namang Fil-Ams na pinanganak sa States pero both parents are Pinoy. Like sa amin si Carlo Dichavez, sa States pinanganak pero parents niya Pinoy at Filipino citizen noong pinanganak siya. Hindi siya counted as a Fil-Foreign,” he said.

“’Pag may lahing iba, may advantage. Kaya kailangan we have to stick to the ruling. It's good for the league kasi 'yung ibang teams na may budget, kaya nilang mag-tap ng Fil-foreigns. 'Pag in-allow (may undue advantage).”

Mermann Flores of the expansion team General Santos Warriors said he sees nothing wrong with the rule, but said his team will be ready to take on other clubs with more than one Fil-foreign player.

“Sa amin OK lang kahit ilan pang Fil-foreigner. Basketball is basketball, ‘di ba? So it doesn't really matter who you put against us. We will try to compete regardless,” he said. “Pero kung 'yun ang rule, we should follow.”

One team affected by the policy are the Mandaluyong El Tigre who has tapped the services of 2-time ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) MVP Ray Parks Jr., son of 7-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Parks. They also signed Parks’ Alab Pilipinas teammate Lawrence Domingo, who was born in the US to Filipino and American parents.

Mandaluyong coach Mac Cuan hopes the league clarifies its guidelines because, as far as he’s concerned, Parks is a local. 

“It seems it’s automatic 'pag half ka, Fil-foreign ka . . . pero ‘yung lumaki sa States pero parehong parents Pinoy, no question local,” said Cuan.

MPBL legal counsel Attorney Brando Viernesto said that based on league guidelines a Fil-foreign player who will be deemed eligible to play in the MPBL should have a 2-year residency in the Philippines or should have played college in the Philippines; at least one of their parents should be a natural-born citizen; should have a Philippine passport; and at least 18 years old.

Bernice Ilagan, co-owner of the Mandaluyong El Tigre, sought clarification regarding the statuses of Parks and Domingo.

"In a press release, you categorized Ray Parks as a Fil-Am and also Lawrence Domingo. In your statement, you said we must only choose one. Either si Ray Parks or si Lawrence Domingo,” said Ilagan. 

“Doon naman kay Lawrence, he was considered Fil-Am. Then we measured him and he was measured 6-4. But given all these, can we consider Ray Parks as a local?.”

MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said he would look at the documents of Parks first.

“Again, titingnan natin 'yung papel niyan. We cannot decide right away kung wala 'yung mga documents. Malalaman natin doon kung at the time of his birth ba kung yung father ba niya is a naturalized already or American citizen pa at that time?,” Duremdes said.

“Kung American citizen pa 'yung tatay niya at that time of his birth, he’s considered a Filipino-American.”

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