The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas hailed the decision of Thirdy Ravena, Kenneth Tuffin and Jack Animam to take their talents overseas, adding it will only benefit their careers in the long run.
“I think we should be honored and we should be flattered that our players are being considered as ‘imports’ now,” SBP director for operations Butch Antonio said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
Ravena made headlines a couple of weeks ago when he accepted a contract to play for San-En Neophoenix of Japan’s B.League.
The former Ateneo star became the first player signed by the B.League under its new “Asian Player Quota” rule that will take effect next season.
Tuffin, meanwhile, is averaging 12.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in six games for the Taranaki Mountain Airs of New Zealand’s National Basketball League.
Despite his pro stint, Tuffin is still eligible to play his fifth and final year with Far Eastern University in the UAAP.
Aninam will play for Shih Hsin University of Taiwan’s University Basketball Association as foreign student athlete after a stellar UAAP career at National University and helping the Philippines complete a golden double in women's basketball at last year's Southeast Asian Games.
“That only shows ang respeto sa atin ng mga neighbors natin,” said Antonio. “Nakikita nila na pwede talagang lumahok at magparticipate ang ating mga manlalaro in their respective leagues."
“And as far as developing is concerned, being exposed to different kinds of basketball in whatever level supposedly makes the player better as long as sineseryoso niya ang kanyang craft,” added the long-time SBP official.