Abueva, other PBA players who got caught playing in ‘ligang labas’

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Even while serving his current indefinite suspension from the PBA, Calvin Abueva continues to hog headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters have reportedly fined their mercurial star an undisclosed amount after playing in an unsanctioned “ligang labas” basketball game in Montalban, Rizal on Monday. Abueva hasn’t played a PBA game since June, after being handed an indefinite ban by Commissioner Willie Marcial for two separate infractions.

Per PBA rules, active players who will be caught suiting up in outside leagues without permission from their mother teams will be in direct violation of the PBA Uniform Players’ Contract — which strictly prohibits professionals from participating in other events and tournaments.

Those who disobeyed the rule are usually slapped with hefty fines, while some are even handed suspensions. Compensation from “ligang labas” games can be quite lucrative for ex-professionals — which could also be quite tempting for players in an active PBA roster.

Abueva’s case isn’t the first time a PBA player dabbled in outside leagues, and it certainly won’t be the last.  FOX Sports Philippines lists down ballers who were caught playing in ‘ligang labas’.

Renz Palma

The high-flying guard from the University of the East first made a name for himself after runner-up finishes in the 2018 and 2019 Slamdunk contest.  But Palma also faced some controversy early in his young career, when he was suspended by the Blackwater Elite last February for participating in a game in Bulacan. The 6’1 guard reportedly asked permission from the Blackwater brass to honor an invitation he received from one of the event’s organizers, according to an initial report from Tiebreaker Times.

His request was denied but Palma went ahead and played anyway, leaving the team no choice but to suspend him for one game. Palma is now currently with the Alaska Aces.

Vic Manuel

Even “The Muscleman” did not escape sanction when he lent his services to a team in Bulacan in 2016. Manuel was slapped with a one-game ban for “violating team rules” after playing in a regulation basketball match outside of the league’s jurisdiction.

Manuel’s former Alaska teammate Abueva also pulled off the same stunt in his rookie year, but managed to escape sanction from then commissioner Chito Salud. Alaska team manager Dickie Bacchman, however, made it clear that the team will no longer tolerate such actions, by making an example out of Manuel.

Ping Exciminiano

Turns out, Manuel wasn’t alone when he violated the league’s rules. Alaska teammate Ping Exciminiano also played in the same unsanctioned game and was warranted the same one-game suspension.

Jeff Viernes

Viernes has been tearing it up in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), but he was also once involved in a “ligang labas” controversy during his brief PBA stint. After going undrafted in the big leagues, Viernes was given a chance by the Fuel Masters and then head coach Ariel Vanguardia in 2017.

His tenure would be short-lived after admitting he suited up for Hobe Macway Travel in the championship game of the Republica Cup under a fake name. Viernes requested his release from the Phoenix shortly after. He also paid an undisclosed fine to the Phoenix management.

Viernes briefly returned to the league last year with GlobalPort (now NorthPort) before finding a home with the Batangas City Athletics in the MPBL.

(Images from PBA)

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