Joaquin Henson – The Philippine Star
September 17, 2021 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday the Board of Governors is restudying the eligibility rules on drafting Fil-foreigners and changes may be coming in the “near future,” hinting that a Philippine passport may be the only requirement by next year.
Marcial noted that the rules on Fil-foreigners have been on the table for discussion over a year ago. The board recently approved a resolution that Fil-foreigners may apply for the draft until they’re 30. The cap of five Fil-foreigners per team may also be reviewed to add to the limit.
At the moment, Fil-foreigners are required to submit a Philippine passport, a Bureau of Immigration (BI) certificate of recognition and a Department of Justice (DOJ) affirmation for eligibility in the draft. This year, several Fil-foreigners were not allowed to join the draft because they had no BI and DOJ documents despite carrying Philippine passports. The disenfranchised players included Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray, Brandon Ganuelas Rosser, Tyrus Hill and Taylor Statham. Eligibility rules for Fil-foreigners in the coming PBA 3×3 league, however, are different and require only Philippine passports as in FIBA 3×3 tournaments so that Brickman, Gray and Rosser were signed to contracts.
Marcial said the next draft will take place in March or April when the ongoing season ends after the second conference. There is talk that the UAAP may reconsider its rule disallowing players from entering the PBA draft while the collegiate season is in progress. In the NCAA, players are allowed to join the draft while the season is in progress on condition they finish their collegiate playing commitments before turning pro. Marcial said the PBA has open channels of communication with UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and NCAA Season 96 management committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran to discuss any issue that requires coordination or clarification.
PBA legal counsel Atty. Melvin Mendoza, meanwhile, said he will take up with the board the matter of eligibility of Fil-foreigners in the draft concerning the minimum years of college. The rule is for draft applicants to become eligible if they’re at least 22 or with two years of college and they must be at least 19. “There’s a grey area with Fil-foreigners,” said Mendoza. “It’s not clear if the two years of college refer to a Philippine collegiate course only. The two-year college requirement was anchored on the hardship rule where those who can’t afford to finish college can already opt to join the draft as long as they’re 19. The three-year period (to join the draft) runs from two years of college and 19 years of age.”