LOCAL basketball stars Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks, Jr. are among the Filipino players seeing action in the upcoming season of the Japan B.League.
Mr. Ravena will be suiting up for the Shiga Lakestars as announced by the team in June.
His Japan contract, however, came as a shock to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), since he signed a fresh contract with the NLEX Road Warriors last year, and was only resolved recently after all parties involved came to an agreement.
Under the deal, Mr. Ravena’s current PBA contract will be terminated, and he will sign a fresh one when he returns.
Mr. Ravena, though, was only allowed to leave once the Road Warriors are no longer in contention in the about-to-resume Philippine Cup while NLEX was fined an undisclosed amount of money for supposedly violating the Uniform Player’s Contract (UPC), because there is no buyout clause in the deal.
As a warning, too, the PBA said Mr. Ravena will be sanctioned if he fails to return after the agreed-upon one season.
On Wednesday, Mr. Ravena left for Japan to attend to some documents needed for his B.League stint, but is set to return immediately to fulfil his commitment with NLEX and then go back to join the Lakestars in the season beginning in October.
The PBA Philippine Cup is currently on hold because of the recent rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, particularly the Delta variant, but is targeted to resume in the first week of September in Pampanga.
NLEX was sporting a 2-2 record when the tournament was halted early this month.
Mr. Parks, meanwhile, was formally introduced by Division 1 team Nagoya Diamond Dolphins as their Asian player quota signing and will be playing for them in the 2021-22 season.
“We are pleased to announce that we have signed Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. from the Philippines for the B.League 2021-22 season. Ray will be registered as the Asian Player Quotas. His contract will become official as soon as he gets his medical clearance,” the Diamond Dolphins said in a statement.
Mr. Park, son of legendary PBA import Bobby, last played with the TNT Tropang Giga in the PBA Philippine Cup “bubble” last year, where he helped the team make it all the way to the finals.
He averaged 22.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in the tournament.
To the surprise of many, however, he chose not to re-sign with TNT in the offseason.
But after some time of discussion, TNT and the PBA allowed him to sign up in the Japanese league as a free agent, provided he comes back after no more than five years with the Tropang Giga still holding the rights to him.
Messrs. Ravena and Parks are among the players set to play in Japan, joining Thirdy Ravena (San-En NeoPhoenix), Javi Gomez De Liaño (Ibaraki Robots), Juan Gomez De Liaño (Earth Friends Tokyo Z) and Kemark Cariño (Aomori Wat’s). — Michael Angelo S. Murillo