THE ball, as they say, is in Blackwater’s hand and it is up to team owner Dioceldo Sy to decide what he will do with it once he passes it back to the PBA Board.
Commissioner Willie Marcial bared he had an online chat with Sy last Tuesday and later in the day forwarded a letter containing some queries by the other PBA members to the Elite owner.
“Nag-meeting kami sa Zoom ni Mr. Dioceldo, nag-kumustuhan kami. Okay naman ‘yung usapan,” related Marcial. “Sinabi ko rin na may ipapadala akong letter sa kanya na questions ng Board. Naipadala ko na sa kanya right after mag-usap kami.”
“Sasagutin niya ‘ko within this week, so ganu’n muna.”
Marcial declined to reveal the contents of the letter but it would be easy to surmise they would mostly pertain to Sy’s continued commitment to the league. His team got on board in 2014.
PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas has already expressed as much.
“He (Sy) will answer to the Board for his comments because, clearly, we are now questioning his level of commitment in playing in the PBA,” Vargas said in an interview late last week.
Sy said in an interview earlier last week that his team had begun practice ahead of the league’s planned return to workouts following the government’s approval of the PBA’s request for practices in small groups.
When reports came out that Blackwater faces sanctions from both the PBA and GAB, which felt the Elite’s premature move jeopardized the PBA’s gradual plans to resume games, Sy said his heart is no longer with the PBA and put a P150 million price tag on his franchise for any taker.
Sy has since mellowed down but still drew a P100,000 fine from Marcial for the unauthorized practice. All Elite players and staff were also ordered to undergo swab testing and a week-long quarantine.
The Board also ordered Marcial to conduct a probe on whether Sy did make such statements. Marcial submitted his report to the governors last Saturday.
Sy has already apologized to the GAB through a meeting with chairman Baham Mitra last Monday, but the latter, while accepting the apology, still warned of further sanctions on Blackwater.
Of another matter is the decision by the other PBA governors, who could agree with a colleague, to simply shrug off Sy’s statements as a mere knee-jerk reaction borne out of frustration and thus let him off with a slap on the wrist.
Or the other teams’ representatives could view his statements as “detrimental and prejudicial” to the league, an infraction that carries with it a minimum P100,000 fine on top of a stern reminder never to issue such statement again.