GAB chief Baham Mitra baffled by UAAP teams' reported training

'I am just wondering why they are practicing when there are no tournaments,' says Mitra
Baham Mitra GAB chairman
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra said the guidelines included in the Joint Administrative Order for sports activities are very clear – only for professional athletes.

Mitra said Monday he couldn’t understand why several school teams conduct practice sessions even if these actions are not allowed under government rules as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

“I am just wondering why they are practicing when there are no tournaments,” Mitra told the Manila Bulletin.

“Conditioning can be done by zoom (online meeting) following the governments’ call for under 21 individuals to stay home.”

Mitra’s comments came after the controversial ‘bubble’ of coach Aldin Ayo’s University of Santo Tomas basketball team training in Sorsogon, and the alleged practice sessions of the National University women’s volleyball squad.

READ: UST vows appropriate action, further probe on men’s basketball team training bubble

Mitra, whose agency handles pro sports, said he doesn’t want to be accused of interfering with the affairs of these schools.

However, as a member of the government-formed tripartite JAO together with the Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Health (DOH), Mitra felt obliged to weigh in.

Under the JAO, only pro sports are allowed to train and PBA teams are starting Tuesday under strict health protocols.

READ: UST Tigers coach Aldin Ayo breaks silence on CJ Cansino’s exit, training bubble

For months, GAB has asked the government to allow professional athletes to return but community quarantine in Metro Manila denied the teams’ early return.

“Even if this is not professional and we don’t want to intrude into their affairs (schools), we join our co-JAO drafter members in their call for non-pro athletes not to practice first as stated in the JAO,” he said.

“We’re afraid that there might be an effect on the pros if there’ll be an accident or transmission in the amateur ranks.”

Mitra, PSC chief Butch Ramirez and DOH secretary Francisco Duque III, as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), are now investigating the matter.

READ: UST conducts probe on training bubble of men’s basketball team