‘Penalties stern but justifiable’

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    BOTH the PBA and Games and Amusements Board don’t want all the hard work and efforts they have exerted to get the pro league back on track go to naught.

    That explains why the penalties imposed on erring parties, the latest of which is Blackwater, may seem stern but justifiably needed in order to send a clear warning to other would-be violators that the PBA is focused would not be sidetracked.

    “The law applies to all or none at all, ika nga,” said a long-time team representative, who requested anonymity until such time as an expected decision from the PBA Board has been announced.

    “It was agreed that we should make sure that everyone is abiding by the safety protocols we have put into place and allowed by the IATF,” added the governor.

    “Otherwise, pag nag-violate kami, nalaman nu’ng IATF, purnada na ‘yung susunod na request namin na ‘Can we resume playing?’ Iyun ang susunod du’n,” the governor added.

    “Scrimmage muna, tapos nu’n, ‘Can we play closed door?’ Ganu’n naman iyun, step by step. Kaya ayaw naming masira. Kaya ayaw naming may mag-positive. Baka sabihin ng task force, ‘Pambihira, kayo gumawa ng request, (additional) protocols, kayo din mag-ba-violate?’”

    The PBA plans to write the IATF another letter next month requesting to be allowed to hold full-contact scrimmages and hopes to resume its Philippine Cup, on hold since March 11, by mid-October at the latest.

    Blackwater got into hot water when its players reportedly violated the no-practice rule put up by the PBA in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic; some of its players engaged in some shootaround last July 11 in a Quezon City gym .

    Ironically, it was Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy who divulged this information in a TV interview last July 13, drawing the ire of both the PBA and GAB.

    Everything could have been avoided had what has been discussed in a PBA Board meeting, wherein Blackwater governor Silliman Sy was present, last July 11 reached the Ever Bilena Cosmetics chief in time.

    “I don’t think Governor Silliman was able to relay to his brother the details of what we’ve discussed that same day,” said the governor.

    “Natiyempo o namali lang talaga ng tiyempo kasi, I think, nahuli dating ng info, nu’ng details discussed in the meeting, kay Dioceldo.”

    During that board meeting, the safety protocols during the return to practice by small groups as approved by the IATF on July 3 and to be implemented once the teams are allowed to go back to the practice gyms either tomorrow or Friday were finalized.

    As a result of that infraction, the Elite had been fined P100,000 by Commissioner Willie Marcial with more sanctions possibly coming from either or both the pro league and the GAB.

    Before Blackwater, Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and Rain or Shine’s Adrian Wong were also fined P20,000 each for participating in an unauthorized 5-on-5 game.

    The threat of more penalties prompted Dioceldo Sy to issue statements about being “offended, bullied and pushed to the wall” while threatening to sell the franchise for P150 million.

    Sy has since mellowed down but his statements did not sit well with the PBA Board led by chairman Ricky Vargas of TNT, who ordered Marcial to do a separate probe on the matter.

    Contacted yesterday, Marcial said he has submitted a report to the governors last Saturday with the decision to be announced by Vargas himself after convening with the other team representatives.

    “Di ko p’wedeng i-disclose. Iyun ang sabi sa akin ni chairman,” was Marcial’s reply to queries on the possible additional sanctions on Blackwater.

    “Si chairman na mag-di-discuss niyan. Ewan ko lang kung kailan.”

    “Hindi naman siya sini-single out or anything,” said the governor. “It’s just that there are rules and (I) honestly feel that we should all abide by the rules. Otherwise, it would be chaotic for the PBA in its plans to go back to action.”