Limpag: Bobby Ray vs. the PBA

Mike T. Limpag
·2 min read

The Bobby Ray Parks situation has reinforced the belief that the PBA is being run by an Old Boys Network.

Consider what commissioner Willie Marcial said on the rumored ban on Bobby Ray Parks.

“There is no ban. The board haven’t talked about a ban. However, the Board of Governors is really a tight group,” he told in Filipino.

By tight, he meant that if one team, in this case Talk N Text, feels aggrieved, the rest of the board will symphathize with it. And in the Bobby Ray Parks case, TNT’s Ricky Vargas has made known his feelings.

“I challenge him to offer his services to the other teams and see for himself if he can land a job.”

That’s basically PBA-speak for “You won’t get a job in the PBA again.”

Of course, the player isn’t entirely blameless, right? And unfortunately, his reputation doesn’t help him too. And in the PBA, even the best player won’t stand a chance if he fights the board.

And it’s very interesting to know that when it comes to one player challenging the power of teams, the owners are united. But when it comes to questions on the league’s perceived bias towards one group of owners, they are not.

This wouldn’t happen if there was a powerful players union similar to that of the NBA. But the PBA isn’t the NBA. With only 12 teams and dozens of players coming up from the collegiate leagues and other minor pro leagues every year, players won’t rock the boat.

That’s why a player like Bobby Ray Parks is unique. It seems he doesn’t care what the teams think of him and doesn’t act as if his career hinges on being on the good graces of the Old Boys Network.

And like any Old Boys Network, they see it as a challenge to their authority and want it cut in the bud.

Who wins in this scenario? No one really.

Not Bobby Ray, not the league and certainly not the owners.

But despite that, the league will survive of course. It’s the PBA after all, Asia’s oldest professional league. And unlike the NBA, whose teams are based in communities, the corporations aren’t really affected by their sports teams’ actions.

What happens next in the Bobby Ray Parks saga? It’s obvious that the league has spoken and we won’t be seeing him in the league anytime soon. I hope, too, Bobby Ray can sign up somewhere and resume his career.