I think almost every basketball fan in the country was elated when Thirdy Ravena got signed to a multi-year deal by San-En NeoPhoenix in the Japan B-League.
A Pinoy doing well in the B-League may prod other teams to look for other Pinoy players since the league now has an Asian player quota. A lot of Azkals have signed up for clubs in the Asean leagues, thanks to a similar rule, so Pinoy hoops fans are not wrong to expect that perhaps Thirdy will be the first of many.
But then, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said hello from the other side of the Old Gentlemen’s Club.
Apparently, they have a rule against draft dodgers. Players who skip the PBA draft for two years face the risk of facing a PBA ban.
How blind can the PBA get?
They shove this rule when in every draft, they feature outsiders who are five, six or even eight years removed from college ball! Players who essentially skipped the draft in the first two years they were eligible.
Which makes me think this rule is not for all players, but for the Ravenas, the Fajardos and the other potential top picks.
Why did they come up with this rule?
Is it because they want want players to choose the PBA first?
Is it because San Miguel formed an ABL team for June Mar Fajardo to join while he waited for San Miguel to get the No. 1 pick before he joined the draft and want other teams discouraged from doing something similar?
Draft dodgers, what a crazy concept.
Yes, you may say that the PBA is a private entity, which is entitled to its own rules, but if the league doesn’t have a database of all graduating college players in the country, then you know this is a surgical rule, targeted for certain players.
I mean, we have the MPBL for crying out loud, and the Vis-Min Cup too.
What if a player who graduates from Cebu, Davao, Iloilo or other leagues outside of the NCAA and UAAP joins the MPBL and somehow, in three or four years, manages to improve so much that he becomes a PBA-level player.
Would he be considered a draft dodger too?
Or wouldn’t he be considered as one because he wasn’t a Ravena in college?
Then what is this draft dodger rule all about?
Is it about players dodging the PBA draft? Is it about the PBA putting economic values on certain players since only a select few have to comply with the rule?
Strange isn’t it? So I hope that like in its many of its missteps in the past, the PBA will look into this rule and change with the times. It’s 2021 as the wokes say.
Or will the PBA, like in the past, clam up and hope everything will go away?