PBA: Elite owner, GAB chairman meet to clear air

Published July 20, 2020, 10:11 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Talks with Commissioner Willie Marcial next
Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy, second from right, met with Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, third from right, to personally apologize Monday. Also in photo are Ever Bilena Sports Director Ariel Vanguardia, GAB consultant Oliver Gan, GAB commissioner Edward Trinidad and Elite team manager Jacob Munez. (Photo from Ariel Vanguardia)

Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy personally met with Games and Amusement Board chairman Baham Mitra Monday and apologized for the ‘unsanctioned practice’ last week that led to the team getting fined P100,000 by the Philippine Basketball Association.

“It was a very cordial and friendly meeting with chairman Baham Mitra,” Sy said in a text message to Manila Bulletin.

“I told him what transpired that Saturday and there was miscommunication regarding the practice brought about by TV5 showing old videos of our practice,” added Sy.

The outspoken team owner appeared on TV5 the Sports Page show last week where he mentioned that the Elite had already been “practicing” at the Aero Center in Quezon City.

That revelation led to a hefty fine since PBA teams are still prohibited from conducting training pending formal guidelines from the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Sy said what he meant by practice was a few players doing shooting drills while observing health protocol.

“Maybe that was the basis for the sanction and fine,” said Sy, who was with Elite team manager Jacob Munoz and Ever Bilena sports director and team consultant Ariel Vanguardia.

As to his meeting with Mitra, who came with GAB commissioner Edward Trinidad and golf consultant Oliver Gan, the one who arranged the face-to-face, Sy said he would respect whatever decision the licensing body would make.

Mitra had earlier said GAB will be conducting a probe on the matter independent that of the PBA.

“We are just being careful as this might jeopardize the efforts of GAB, PBA and our sports patrons who have done our very best in requesting the IATF permission to practice even during the pandemic,” said Mitra in a spin.ph  report.

“Chairman Mitra accepted my apology as he understands my outburst of emotion on what I felt was a non-issue or violation. GAB will study the matter and make a report or recommendation soon. I’m hoping for the best,” said Sy, who has threatened to sell the Blackwater franchise for P150 million.

As this developed, Sy also said that he is set to meet with Marcial Tuesday.

Asked if he would retract his earlier threat, he said; “Let’s see.”

Mitra, on the other hand, said that while he accepts the apology, the commission will still review the matter before issuing a report and recommendation.

“We have accepted their apology but the Board needs to study further their reply to our letter if we will sanction or fine them as Commissioner Mar Masanguid is still in Davao. They promised to adhere to all the rules and safety standards as well as the directives of the IATF and GAB,” said Mitra in a statement.

“We have also asked them to wait for the IATF resolution and GAB-PSC-DOH Joint Administrative Order before any practice so as not to jeopardize our efforts to resume league practice.”

“A stern warning may be issued by GAB to Blackwarer to refrain from any practice in the meantime that the order has not yet come out. This was the same statement that GAB made to the Philippine Football League.”