2020 has been a roller coaster ride for Philippine Basketball. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all sporting events have been suspended till further notice. But this year, multiple young and talented players were given an opportunity to take their talents overseas and ball out.
Guys like Thirdy Ravena, Ken Tuffin and Kai Sotto have all committed to playing overseas. Not to mention the other young ballers that are looking to try their luck as well, by signing with an international agency like LeBron Lopez, Sage Tolentino and Cholo Anonuevo.
Because multiple Filipino players are taking chances to play abroad, it got me thinking. Who are the PBA players that could actually make it overseas?
That’s why I came up with the three current PBA players that could leave their mother team and bring their talents overseas.
Just a reminder, this is just an opinionated piece, I did not talk to any agent of the players mentioned in this article and I have no idea if any of these players do have intentions to play overseas – or if they were given an update offer to take their talents elsewhere.
He decided to leave Barangay Ginebra before the start of the season and there are now rumors that he is looking to try out for an NBA G-League team in the US.
TOP 3 – June Mar Fajardo
Arguably the Greatest Filipino Basketball Player of All-Time, San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo has done it all. You name it, he’s got it: eight championships, three Finals MVP awards, eight Best Player of the Conference awards, and he is the ONLY six-time MVP in the history.
Aside from his success in the PBA, he also has a very successful stint in the national team, winning a Bronze medal in Wuhan during the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, a Silver medal in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here in Manila and just last year, he took home his first Gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that happened here in the Philippines.
Oh, and did I mention that he’s only in the eighth year of his PBA career?
The Kraken has done it all and you could say that he has nothing left to prove in the PBA stage. So, it wouldn’t be such an outlandish idea if he tried to take his talents overseas and showcase his dominance on a different playing field.
In an interview in 2018, the Cebuano big man admitted that he was thinking about moving.
Fajardo is currently recovering from a season ending shin injury suffered before the start of the 2020 PBA season. Unfortunately, the PBA along with other sporting events were shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Fajardo as he has been given more time to recover and possibly play if the season begins.
Although, we would miss seeing Fajardo in the PBA, it would still be interesting to see how one of the GOATs of Philippine Basketball would fare against international talents.
TOP 2 – Calvin Abueva
Last June, Phoenix LPG Fuelmasters’ Calvin Abueva shocked everyone when he posted a story on his Instagram account a photo of a text message sent to him from an agent/friend stating that a Japanese ballclub wants his services.
The Beast confirmed in an interview that he did receive an offer from the Japan B. League, though he has not accepted the offer yet and is thinking about it.
The Japan B. League is the league where Thirdy Ravena will be playing in as an Asian import for the San-En NeoPhoenix team.
Abueva was a PBA champion in 2013 and a one-time Best Player of the Conference awardee in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. He’s also been part of the Mythical First-team twice in 2013 and 2016.
He also has international medals under his belt. He was part of the 2015 Gilas Pilipinas that took the Silver medal at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha.
The Pampanga native is yet to play a PBA game since being suspended indefinitely back in June 2019 after throwing a clothesline at former TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Abueva decides to take his high-level, physical playstyle to Japan since he has been sitting out for too long because of his rash decision.
TOP 1 – Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
Out of the three guys that are in this list, TNT KaTropa’s Bobby Ray Parks Jr has the most experience playing in the international stage.
The son of the legendary PBA import, Bobby Ray Parks, got the opportunity to showcase his talent in the 2015 NBA Summer League for the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first Filipino-born player to do so despite being undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft.
He then had the opportunity to play in the NBA G-League, then known as NBA Developmental League, back in 2015. He suited for the Texas Legends and became the second Filipino to play in the D-League since Japeth Aguilar played for the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2012.
Parks showed signs of brilliance during his stint with the Legends. His best game came when they played against the Oklahoma City Blue where he finished with 16 points.
After his stint in the NBA D-League, he played for the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) for the Alab Pilipinas where he showcased dominance and took home three consecutive ABL Local MVP titles and led Alab to a championship in 2018 while being named the Finals MVP.
Parks decided to enter the 2018 PBA draft and was selected second overall by the Blackwater Elites. He led the Elites to a third seed finish in the standings in his first Commissioner’s cup conference in the PBA but was eliminated by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the quarterfinals.
He was traded to TNT during the elimination round of the 2019 Governors’ Cup where he helped his team reach the semi-finals before losing to the Meralco Bolts in five games in a best-of-five series.
The reason why I think there’s a big chance for Parks to play overseas is that aside from his experiences, he could want more money.
The 27-year-old all-around playmaker got involved in a rocky negotiation last season with the KaTropa management. He asked for a price of P900,000 monthly in his contract which is way higher than the P250,000 monthly salary teams give to second year players.
Eventually, the dust has settled and Parks signed a one-year P250,000 monthly contract with TNT and will be playing for the yellow, white and blue brand this season along with newly acquired Center, Poy Erram if it wasn’t for the shutdown.
Despite being in a great position to win a title in the PBA, I personally believe that playing overseas is a big possibility for Parks, especially if he’d want more money on the table.