Noli Eala slams PBA’s ‘draft dodger’ rule: ‘It’s illogical and a sign of insecurity and weakness’

Former PBA commissioner Noli Eala has something to say about the league’s new rule against ‘draft dodgers’.

The pro league, in an attempt to prevent eligible amateur players from choosing what team to play for, passed a rule in 2018 which states that a player may be banned from joining the draft if he continues to skip the annual exercise two years after his final playing year in college.

Former Ateneo de Manila standout Thirdy Ravena falls squarely into that category since the son of TNT assistant coach Bong Ravena last saw action for the Katipunan-based school in 2019 and has just recently inked a multi-year extension with San-en Neophoenix of Japan’s B.League.

To avoid being a casualty of the ‘draft dodger’ rule, the 24-year old Ravena submitted a letter to the league explaining his situation.

Commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed that he was able to talk to the 3-time UAAP Finals MVP straight from Japan and they were able to settle things amicably.

“Nakausap naman natin si Thirdy at pinaliwanag niya na sa tingin niya, mas may igagaling pa siya doon,” stressed Marcial during an interview with

“Ang dami nangyari sa season niya dun mula sa COVID hanggang sa injuries kaya gusto pa niyang patunayan ang sarili niya,” he added.

Eala, who served as league chief from 2003 to 2007, is not exactly a fan of the controversial rule.

“Why does a player who is under no contract with the PBA have to do this. The NCC players in the 80s did not have to do this. Orig Gilas members did not do this,” replied Eala on’s post on Twitter regarding Ravena’s letter to the PBA.

“I think this rule is not only illogical but it is also a sign of insecurity and weakness. The PBA is better than this,” added the former SMC sports director.

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