There have been many Filipino players who moved from the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) to the PBA but the paths have differed from player to player.
With the PBA D-League requirement in place, there are those who waited out the minimum age limit such as Stanley Pringle who once played for the Indonesia Warriors before making it to the PBA. There were also those who used the national team path such as Christian Standhardinger. In Matthew Wright's case, he got lucky as he was included in the Gilas Draft, which ultimately waived his need to play in the PBA D-League.
With higher salaries available in the ABL or in other countries, such as Thailand, where Filipino players are hired as imports, there are those who couldn't pass up on the paycheck even if it means delaying their entry into the PBA.
Joshua Munzon decided to go through the path less travelled as he jumped into the PBA D-League with AMA picking him first overall in the 2019 Draft.
"It has always been my dream to play in the PBA and I feel this is the right time to make the move," said Munzon. "I had to decline offers elsewhere but it's a price I'm willing to pay to be able to join the next PBA Draft."
Even before the draft, there were already whispers that Munzon will land with AMA which would put him on the same team with the impressive Owen Graham. Although there are many talented collegiate teams that will be joining the PBA D-League this season, Munzon hopes to be able to help his team compete every game.
"Since I got here, I've been trying to watch and play as much basketball as I can because I want to be able to adjust to it before the PBA D-League season starts. This is why I also joined (Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas) 3x3. I watch the PBA games to learn more about the league and the players as well."
Muznon averaged 24.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals playing for the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the previous ABL season. He was known for his long-range shooting and ability to read passing lanes and run out for thunderous slam dunks. However, the lanky player hopes to showcase other aspects of his game in the PBA D-League.
"I want to play as a point guard here in the Philippines," said the 6-foot-3 player. "In the ABL, I brought down the ball a lot and I also like making plays for my teammates so I hope I'll be put in situations where I can do all of those things."
Munzon said that he's excited to share the floor once again with some of the players he met in the ABL such as Standhardinger and Ray Parks and he also knows he needs to impress in the PBA D-League since he's not a household name just yet unlike some of the collegiate stars who will also throw in their names for the next PBA Draft.