"Ang sa akin lang, hindi pwede 'yan."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial clarified that Kiefer Ravena, who recently signed with Shiga Lakestars in the B. League, would not be able to suit up for the Japanese ballclub as long as the Filipino guard is still under active contract with NLEX.
This means he will still need to fulfill his obligations with the Road Warriors after signing last September a three-year Uniform Player's Contract (UPC)---a system which prohibits players from seeing action in tournaments not sanctioned by the PBA.
"May kontrata pa siya sa NLEX so hindi talaga 'yan pwede," Marcial told GMA News Online in an interview shortly after the announcement.
"As a commissioner, sinasabi ko, hindi 'yan pwede kasi nasa UPC pa siya. May obligasyon siya sa NLEX."
Marcial added that it was only yesterday that Ravena informed him of his signing with the Japanese ballclub, a big move that would make him only the second Filipino player to ever suit up as import after, incidentally, his younger brother Thirdy.
Ravena, 27, is a key cog for the Road Warriors and is tipped to lead the team's redemption bid this season after finishing the 2020 Philippine Cup with a dismal 5-6 win-loss record.
During the bubble conference, the second-generation baller posted averages of 19.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists as NLEX missed the playoffs.
Marcial, meanwhile, added that he will need to talk with Ravena and the NLEX management regarding the issue as, according to him, this may incur consequences on the part of Ravena.
"Mag-uusap kami about sa nangyayari and malamang, may consequences 'to but tignan natin. 'Di ko pa masabi lahat ngayon kasi lately ko lang din nalaman," Marcial added.
In case Ravena's Japan stint pushes through, he won't be seeing action this season 46, which is being eyed to open shop either in late June or early July.
—JMB, GMA News