PBA and JBL officials agree to take the path of friendship and cooperation during their meeting on Friday: In photo, first row (seated L to R) : Atty. Raymond Zorrilla (Phoenix), Mr. Bobby Rosales (Terrafirma), Shinji Shimada - Chairman, B.LEAGUE, PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, Gov. Alfrancis Chua (Ginebra).
Second row (L to R) : Odessa Encarnacion (PBA Finance Director), Gov. Silliman Sy (Blackwater), Gov. Eric Arejola (Northport), Mr. Eric Castro (PBA Dep. Comm ), Atty. William Pamintuan (Meralco), PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Gov. Robert Non (SMB), Gov. Rod Franco (NLEX), Atty. Melvin Mendoza (PBA Legal Counsel), Mich Flores (PBA Social Media), Chihiro Saito - Manager, International Development, B.LEAGUE, Ayumi Yamamoto - International Development Officer, B.LEAGUE, and Atty. Chito Salud (Converge).
TOKYO -- Officials of the Philippine Basketball Association and the Japan B.League, in a meeting here Friday, both expressed willingness to take the path of friendship and cooperation with their similar goal of further boosting the sport of basketball in the Philippines and in Japan.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and commissioner Willie Marcial led the PBA delegation that paid their JBL counterparts a visit in the latter's headquarters at the heart of the Japanese capital.
Welcoming the PBA group were JBL chairman Shinji Shimada, international development manager Chihiro Saito and international development officer Ayumi Yamamoto.
With the PBA chairman and PBA commissioner in a brief meeting were Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, PBA governors Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, Alfrancis Chua of Barangay Ginebra, Rod Franco of NLEX, Bill Pamintuan of Meralco, Erick Arejola of NorthPort, Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma, Chito Salud of Converge, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix Fuel and Silliman Sy of Blackwater, deputy commissioner Eric Castro, legal counsel Melvin Mendoza, finance director Odessa Encarnacion and social media's Michelle Flores.
Vargas said they came in friendship and are reaching out for mutual understanding, respect and improved relations for the betterment of both leagues.
"The keyword is cooperation. Recent events whereby our players accepted offers to play in Japan have hurt not only our league but our national team training and development, as well," said Vargas. "If we continue this way of engaging Philippine players without prior clearance from our league, it may sadly blemish our friendship."
The PBA chairman mentioned the Philippine government, particularly the Senate, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the FIBA having taken cognizance of the situation.
Among Filipino players now strutting their stuff in the B.League are Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena and Matthew Wright.
While understanding "free market," Vargas stressed the importance of respect, raising some particular points, first and foremost that of respect to player contracts.
He called on the Japan league and teams to respect player contract, player commitment to play in the national team, respect for each other's league rules and policies, respect for FIBA rules and ideals, respect for youth education and authorized agents accredited by the league.
"As good neighbors, the path of cooperation is always the best way to settle our differences," said Vargas to end his message to the JBL officials.
In response, the JBL chairman said he understands the situation and the PBA's concern, and expressed his desire to continue talking with the PBA officials.
"As Commissioner (Marcial) suggested, we keep the conversation going," said Shimada, adding their intention to pay their own visit in Manila on December. (SB)