Phoenix star Matthew Wright.

According to sources, Matthew Wright (with ball) will be taking his talents to Japan after the Philippine Cup. —PBA IMAGES

PBA stars playing for the bigger bucks is something each player is entitled to do, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial believes so.

“They’re like our doctors, nurses, engineers, etc.,” Marcial told the Inquirer during the league’s third Media Day on Thursday at Novotel Hotel in Cubao, Quezon City. “They are all entitled to seek security for themselves and most especially for their families.

“If they feel playing abroad is best for them, who are we in the PBA to dispute that?”

Asia’s pioneering pro league has been taking hit after hit every season as far as star players going overseas are concerned, with Phoenix Super LPG’s Matthew Wright the next marquee name set to depart for Japan after the Philippine Cup that starts on June 5.

The PBA and its teams are not about to go into a bidding war with B.League teams or any other neighboring pro leagues for that matter so as not to disrupt what is seen as a foolproof system.

This, despite upcoming stars like Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. having turned their backs on what were already lucrative careers here.

And Marcial admits that even after Wright does go, more are set to leave with PBA players not really tied to long-term contracts.

But is he scared?

“Not at all,” Marcial went on. “They play there as imports, and like the imports who play in the PBA, they all come back home. I believe most of those stints will be short-term.

“It’s just a way for them to secure better futures for themselves and their families,” he said. “They know they still belong in the PBA.

“And we will always be here to welcome them back.”

Marcial just wants players with plans of taking their acts abroad to fulfill their obligations here before thinking of leaving, like what Wright will reportedly do.

The sweet-shooting national team standout, sources said, will play out the remainder of his contract with the Fuel Masters, suiting up for the Philippine Cup before departing for Japan.

It’s an open dicussion right now and all parties are just trying to get the best out of the situation.

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