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Local or Fil-Am? MPBL to check Ray Parks' documents



MANILA, Philippines – Ray Parks had planned to take his talents to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). But the move still looks uncertain as the rapidly expanding league looks bent on enforcing new rules involving foreigners with Filipino roots.

MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the league would check Parks' documents to see if the two-time Asean Basketball League (ABL) Most Valuable Player will qualify as a local or a Filipino-American.

Again, titingnan natin yung papel niyan. We cannot decide right away kung wala yung mga documents," said Duremdes. "Malalaman natin doon kung at the time of his birth ba kung yung father ba niya is a naturalized already or American citizen pa at that time?”

Kung American citizen pa yung tatay niya at the time of his birth, he’s considered a Filipino-American,” noted Duremdes.

(Again, we will check his papers. We cannot decide right away if there are no documents. That's where we'll know if at the time of his birth, was his father naturlized already or was he still an American citizen at that time? If his father was an American at the time of his birth, he's considered a Filipino-American.)

Over the weekend, the MPBL said a team can only sign one Filipino player with foreign roots, and that player’s height must not exceed 6-foot-4.

The new rule has been met with criticism and some Filipino-American players have slammed it as "racist."

First time in my life i was considered an America in my own home country smh.Dito ako lumaki.Dito ako pinanganak.May Filipino passport dahil sa kulay ng balat ko at dahil tatay ko ay amerikano na dapat ako ikonsider na foreigner sa sarili kong bayan? — Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (@ray1parks) May 16, 2018

Parks is the son of the late American basketball player Bobby Parks, who was a seven-time PBA Best Import awardee. 

But the young Parks was born in the Philippines. He lived in the United States for several years but returned to play for National University in college. 

Parks, who also represented the national team several times in different competitions, had also criticized the controversial rule. 

“First time in my life I was considered an American in my own home country,” Parks recently posted on Twitter.

Team co-owner Bernice Ilagan of the Mandaluyong El Tigre, where Parks and Fil-Am Lawrence Domingo were set to play, sought clarification from the league.

MPBL urged all teams on Thursday, May 17,  to submit the documents of their Filipino-foreign players to prove the players' eligibility.

Marami tayong nababalitaan (about) Fil-Ams, kaya tayo nag-set ng guidelines sa Fil-foreigners para pa rin sa vision ng liga natin. Giving chance sa mga homegrown and local players natin. Yun naman ang vision ng ligang ito," Atty. Brando Viernesto,  the league’s legal counsel, said 

"Hindi naman natin sinasabing bawal sila totally, kaya nga binibigyan natin ng one Fil-foreign player each team sa ngayon. Wala pa naman tayong isang taon. MPBL has set the guidelines.” 

(We have heard a lot of things about Fil-Ams, that's why we've set these guidelines on Fil-foreigners because of the league's vision. It's about giving chance to our homegrown and local players. That's really the vision of the league. We're not saying that the Fil-foreigners are banned totallym that's why we're giving each team one Fil-foreign player for now. The league isn't even a year old. MPBL has set the guidelines.)

Viernesto also noted other key items in the rule:  Fil-foreign players should have served a two-year residency in the Philippines or should have played college in the Philippines; at least one of their parents should be natural born citizen; they should have a Philippines passport; and should be at least 18 years of age. –