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PBA paves way for Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks to play in Japan B.League

The PBA on Saturday morning announced it was allowing Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. to play in the Japan B.League.

The two young stars face different situations. NLEX's Ravena will be allowed to play for the Shiga Lakestars of the Japan B. League under unique conditions.

According to NLEX team official Ronald Dulatre, the PBA Board of Governors allowed Ravena to play in Japan for just one season. Under a new agreement, Ravena's current PBA contract will be terminated, and he will sign a fresh one when he returns.

"Ever since the news on Kiefer's Japan stint came out, the PBA - of which the Road Warriors are an integral part - was unfairly subjected to negative public sentiment and scrutiny even though it had no knowledge of the situation. We apologize to the PBA for being dragged into this commotion," Dulatre said in a prepared statement during the press conference.

Kiefer follows his brother Thirdy, Javi and Juan Gomez de Liaño, and Kemark Cariño, who have signed their respective contracts over the past few months.

Ravena, however, will only be allowed to leave once the Road Warriors are no longer in contention in the ongoing Philippine Cup, whose elimination round ends on August 27. The finals are slated to take place in the first or second week of October. The B.League's 2021 season is set to tip off on September 30.

Ravena also apologized to the PBA for cutting his contract short.

"I've learned a lot since Shiga announced my signing. I should have sought clearance from the PBA. I apologize for any hurt feelings and stress that this has caused the PBA and my team, the NLEX Road Warriors," explained Ravena, who had averages of 19.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in three games played this season.

"I apologize for any hurt feelings and stress that this has caused the PBA and to my team the NLEX Road Warriors," he added, also apologizing to the fans for the commotion the move caused.

The former Ateneo star assured that he will only play in the Japanese league for just one year, and will return with the Road Warriors soon after.

"I'm very much excited to play for Shiga. I will be back to play for the NLEX Road Warriors next season," he added.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also announced that the Road Warriors will be fined an undisclosed amount of money for supposedly violating the Uniform Player's Contract (UPC), because there is no buyout clause in the deal. Marcial added that Ravena will be sanctioned if he fails to return after the agreed-upon one season.

Parks, on the other hand, has yet to sign with any Japanese club and is a restricted PBA free agent after he failed to come to terms on a new contract with his PBA team, the TNT Tropang Giga, during the off-season. He must return to the PBA after no more than five years, with TNT still retaining his rights.

According to Marcial, TNT team governor Ricky Vargas informed him on Friday of the team's decision to allow Parks to seek out a team in Japan.

With TNT tendering a contract offer, they will retain Parks' rights and can trade him if they wish to do so for the next five years. During that span -- within the five years or after -- he is free to play in any other league.

After the five-year "sit-out" period, Parks will become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any other PBA team if he chooses to play locally again.