Abu Tratter says MPBL's Fil-foreign rule 'taking away an opportunity for players to grow and get better'

MPBL Fil-Am rule (1:15)

Bobby Ray Parks and Abu Tratter spoke up on the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League's rule limiting the participation of Fil-foreign players. (1:15)

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) has recently sparked controversy with a rule it imposed on Filipino-foreign players.

With the intention of putting focus on local and homegrown players, league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes has limited teams to only one Fil-foreigner who must not exceed the height cap of 6-foot-4.

Some fans and players did not receive the rule positively. But what really drew their ire was how the MPBL classified its hoopers.

The league states that for a player to be considered a local, he must be born to full-blooded Filipino parents. Otherwise, the player is considered a Fil-foreigner -- regardless of where he was born and raised, and whether or not he holds a Philippine passport.

One guy affected by this is Abu Tratter, who was signed by Bataan a few weeks ago.

"For me, they're not giving credit for the five years I lived here when I was a kid. I was born here, but we had leave for financial reasons," the former De La Salle Green Archer said. "For the MPBL to rule me out as a foreigner when I'm actually a local, that's just doesn't feel right."

Tratter, who was born in the province of Laguna to a Filipina mother and an American father, has represented the country while playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers last February. Now, he faces the possibility of becoming ineligible to play in a local league because he stands over the height cap of foreign players.

"That doesn't just put me at a disadvantage, but also the big men they deem as locals," Tratter said. "The game is changing and we're all out here trying to get better by challenging each other. The rule is taking away an opportunity for players, be it local or Fil-Am, to grow and get better."

Duremdes recently said Tratter might still have a chance to suit up as the big man will be subject to further screening.

Other players who have voiced out their opinions on the rules include Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and former PBA cagers Ali Peek and Nic Belasco.