Replacing imports not as easy as before — Marcial

Published November 14, 2021, 9:03 PM

by Jonas Terrado

PBA teams will have to think twice before deciding on replacing their imports once action starts in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said restrictions related to the COVID-19 are going to make things stringent for teams as compared to the pre-pandemic when imports can come and go in a snap.

Imports are required to secure a 9(a) visa at any Philippine consulate before they can suit up for the Governors’ Cup which could begin at the end of the month.

They may also have to undergo a mandatory quarantine period, which would force teams to stick with their original import for an unspecified amount of time.

“Kung magpapalit sila ng imports, kailangan sundin natin kung ano sinasabi ng gobyerno,” Marcial said in last week’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

“Pag sinabi ng government na kailangan kumuha ng special visa sa DFA (Foreign Affairs), papadala sa embahada tulad ng ginawa natin, kailangan ganito katagal ang quarantine, susundin lang natin,” he added.

But he also expressed hope that the situation eases up which could make it easier for foreign players to arrive.

Still, there’s no guarantee of such possibility since the pandemic remains fluid despite a significant drop in cases.

“Sana by December, maluwag-luwag na, payagan na yung mga turista, so wala tayong problema. Sana po, mangyari yun,” said Marcial.

Seven returnees and five newcomers comprise the batch of imports for the conference that could start as early as Nov. 28 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Returning are Justin Brownlee (Barangay Ginebra), Mike Harris (Magnolia Pambansang Manok), KJ McDaniels (NLEX), Paul Harris (Phoenix Super LPG), Brandon Brown (San Miguel Beer), Henry Walker (Rain or Shine) and Olu Ashaolu (Alaska).

Former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad of Meralco leads the new crop of reinforcements along with TNT’s McKenzie Moore, NorthPort’s Cameron Forte, Terrafirma’s Antonio Hester and Blackwater’s Jaylen Bond.