Issues surrounding the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s stringent rules on Fil-foreigners raised questions, concerns and criticisms from basketball fans, pundits, players and coaches alike.
Not lost in the hubbub was Alaska assistant coach Jeff Cariaso’s tweet, which expounded on a possible idea that he had on PBA’s very own rules on Fil-foreigners.
Since we’re on the topic, maybe we can ask @pbaconnect and Commissioner Willie about the 5 Fil-Foreigner rule per PBA Team. If you played 10 years in the PBA, I say they take you off that list. You’ve paid your dues. Equality after 10.
— Jeff Cariaso (@thejet_22) May 16, 2018
A Filipino-American himself, the 10-time PBA All-Star’s concept could be a viable option if PBA doesn’t want to completely abolish the said rule.
Players and teams will both benefit too since the number of PBA cagers occupying the ‘Fil-foreign’ spots in the league isn’t a short list.
1. Ryan Reyes, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters
Drafted by Sta. Lucia in 2007, the 11-year veteran studied at California State-Fullerton before making himself eligible for the draft. A sweet-shooting combo guard who has been a hound on defense his whole career, Reyes has won all six of his titles with the TNT franchise and has accrued four PBA All-Defensive Team accolades.
2. Rafi Reavis, Magnolia Hotshots
Reavis is pushing 41 but is showing no signs of slowing down. He played sparingly at Coppin State in Baltimore before breaking out with the San Juan Knights in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association, where he won his first career title. He has won 10 championships with Coca-Cola, Ginebra and the Purefoods franchise ever since.
3. Joe Devance
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Devance played at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) before entering the PBA in 2007. He was drafted first overall by Welcoat but didn’t really find his stride until he won titles with Alaska (2010) and the Purefoods franchise. He also won two titles with Ginebra.
4. Alex Cabagnot
Arguably among the league’s best point guards in the last decade, Cabagnot’s still winning up to this day. After molding his game in California (at Eagle Rock and at the Los Angeles Valley College) and in Hawaii (at Hawaii-Hilo), he entered the league as the second overall pick by the Sta. Lucia Realtors in 2005. He has won seven PBA titles – all with the San Miguel franchise) and is a decorated All-Star who has also bagged a Finals MVP.
5. Sonny Thoss, Alaska Aces
Thoss is a Fil-German born in Papua New Guinea. He moved to Australia in 2001 and played for the Cairns Marlins in the defunct Australian Basketball Association before getting picked fifth overall by the Alaska Aces in 2005. A 12-time All-Star, Thoss has stayed with the franchise for all of his years in the league and has even won medals with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones Cup (gold in 2012, silver in 2015) and in the FIBA Asia Championship (silver in 2015).
6. Kelly Williams, TNT KaTropa
Williams has to be one of the greatest Fil-foreigners of all time and might even merit consideration in an expanded list of the greatest PBA players of all-time. The Detroit native had an eventful, four-year collegiate basketball career at Oakland University before the Realtors grabbed him with their first pick in 2006. ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ won a title and his lone MVP award with the franchise before getting traded to TNT, where he expanded his resume with five more titles and a lot more awards.
7. Harvey Career, TNT KaTropa
The ever-dependable Carey is still rolling out reliable production in his 15th year in the league. Born in San Francisco, the 6-foot-3 forward has been with the TNT franchise his whole PBA career and has helped them win all of their seven PBA titles.
8. Gabe Norwood, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Here’s another fan favorite. Norwood was born in North Carolina and played at George Mason University. He first played for the national team in the 2007 editions of Jones Cup and the FIBA Asia Championship before getting drafted first overall by Rain or Shine. There, the nine-time PBA All-Star solidified his status as arguably the league’s stingiest perimeter defender and has been a fixture in multiple medal-winning Gilas teams.
9. Asi Taulava, NLEX Road Warriors
Ageless is a fitting adjective for the Fil-Tongan, who’s still going strong at 45. Taulava, who played at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, is among the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players and has won multiple titles in his 19-year career. He’s a 16-time All-Star, a former MVP and Finals MVP and is arguably among the most dominant centers to have stepped on the court. He might retire after his contract with the NLEX Road Warriors expires this year.
10. Jarred Dillinger, Meralco Bolts
Dillinger is the one of the league’s most versatile players. His ability to switch from virtually the one spot to the four made him a vital cog in TNT’s title runs from 2008 to 2013. He also played in the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan in 2014, where they won Bronze. He was born in South Dakota and played for the Air Force at Colorado and for the University of Hawaii before getting drafted with the second pick.