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PBA LAUDED FOR EASING UP ON FIL-FOREIGN PLAYERS

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list on Wednesday welcomed the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) move to ease eligibility requirements for Filipino-foreigners hoping to play in the league.

“This is indeed good news for foreign basketball players who have Filipino ancestry, especially those who hold dual citizenship,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas earlier said they will be “less stringent” on Fil-foreign players, who now only have to meet two requirements: The player must have Filipino blood and be a holder of a Philippine passport.

“The infusion of fresh talent will always be a boon for the league and will not only help keep the game exciting but also push our athletes to work harder and be better players,” she added.

PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas earlier said they will be “less stringent” on Fil-foreign players, who now only have to meet two requirements: The player must have Filipino blood and be a holder of a Philippine passport.

Previous league rules required Filipino-foreign players to produce documents from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration proving their Philippine citizenship to be eligible for the PBA Draft.

The PBA plans to open its Governors Cup on November 28, with teams set to bring in foreign reinforcements.

Nograles also backed the PBA’s plan to require that all players, including imports, be vaccinated against the coronavirus before they are allowed to play.

Previous league rules required Filipino-foreign players to produce documents from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration proving their Philippine citizenship to be eligible for the PBA Draft.

“As we transition to the new normal, we must take every precaution possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and requiring all players to be vaccinated will be a huge step in achieving that,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.

“Aside from the players, all coaching staff and the referees should be fully vaccinated as well. It would also be prudent to require that all fans who wish to watch the games in person to be fully vaccinated against COVID,” she added.

According to PBA officials, the PBA vaccination rate is now at 97%, with the entire PBA Office already fully vaccinated.

With Metro Manila now under Alert Level 2, the PBA is hopeful that they will be allowed to let fans inside playing venues again. The PBA is also seeking a go-signal from the government to hold their games in Metro Manila, after the past two conferences were held in “bubbles” in Pampanga, where audiences were not allowed.

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