By JONAS TERRADO
The PBA has decided to relax its rules on Fil-foreigners who wish to enter the league starting in the 2022 draft.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and chairman Ricky Vargas confirmed Tuesday that Fil-foreign cagers will only need to secure a Philippine passport in order to join the proceedings.
Marcial bared in the virtual session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that the new rule was approved last September in what could be a reaction to what transpired in this year’s draft.
Prospective first round choices Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray and Brandon Rosser were barred from the draft after failing to complete draft requirements under the league’s old rule.
Previously, Fil-foreigners were required to acquire a Philippine passport while also securing a certificate from the Department of Justice and affirmation from the Bureau of Immigration.
Brickman initially signed with Meralco’s 3×3 team but eventually went to play for a professional team in Taiwan while Gray and Rosser will suit up for TNT and Phoenix in the PBA’s halfcourt tournament.
Gray and Rosser are expected to enter next year’s draft, especially now that the rules are less-stringent.
Teams will also be allowed to get a maximum of seven Fil-foreigners compared to five in the old league guidelines, a move Vargas said will be beneficial for the league.
“In that way, we will make the PBA exciting, we’ll bring the world to the PBA and at the same time balance it so that we’ll be able to give jobs to our players na nandito. So we’re looking forward to that in the next draft,” said Vargas.
Meanwhile, the PBA continues to make preparations for the season-ending Governors’ Cup which could start on Nov. 28, with plans set on bringing back fans once the league gets a go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Marcial said the league hopes to secure a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the possibility of letting fans enter the playing venue under a limited capacity.
The PBA commissioner anticipates that the setup could be similar to that of cinemas who are already allowed to open under a 30-percent capacity for fully-vaccinated individuals.