In the midst of an increase in the number of Filipino basketball athlete imports, PBA sought to strengthen connections with the East Asia Super League (EASL), starting with Japan and Korea.

/ 10 November 2021

League chairman Ricky Vargas shared the said development in a guest appearance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, Tuesday.

“The intention why we want to be there [is] that we can also have stronger ties with the four or five leagues in the region,” he said.

While there has been recent tension within the local basketball scene due to more Filipinos representing and playing for other countries like Ray Parks, Jason Brickman, and Gilas draftee Jordan Heading, and Kiefer Ravena’s controversial contract with NLEX before joining the Shiga Lakestars, the PBA still sees the partnership beneficial.

In such an account, Japan and Korea have already stated their desire to deepen the relationship with the country.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial announced that he has received an invitation from the B.League to attend the All-Star Game to be held from January 14 to 15 in Okinawa. 

“Ang KBL commissioner, sumulat at gusto makipag-meeting sa atin. Ang Japan B.League, may All-Star [Game], iniimbita ako na pumunta sa Japan,” said Marcial in the same event where PBA league chairman Vargas was a guest. 

To that end, Marcial added that a meeting between the Korean Basketball League and the PBA was recently set up and that the EASL’s partnership with the PBA would be officially announced next month.

“Nakikita niyo na na may usapan na ang mga iba’t-ibang liga. Gusto tayong kausapin ng Korea, inimbita tayo ng Japan league. Simula na na maging maayos ang samahan natin dito sa Asia,” said Marcial.

Vargas, who is also the governor of TNT Tropang Giga, said that the partnership would not only strengthen relationships and give an opportunity to express respect to each region but will also demonstrate Filipino pride.

“When we do have stronger ties, we will be able to see to it that we respect each other’s rights in terms of movement of players,”

“And we thought it’s time to open up, join our brothers in Asia, work with them, play with them, and show them what the Filipino has,” he added.