GAB looks to professionalize more sports

After a number of sports leagues turned professional last year, expect more to follow the same route in the coming months under strict health guidelines, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said Monday.

The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak postponed or canceled several sporting events, including a number of local tournaments when the government issued a lockdown in mid-March.

Several months later, the government allowed the return of pro sports, which include the PBA and boxing since these athletes lean on these leagues and events to earn a living.

With the help of GAB as the leading government agency in handling pro sports, a number of amateur leagues decided to turn pro to be able to resume competition last year.

One example is the Pilipinas 3x3 presented by Chooks-To-Go as organizers conducted a bubble tournament in Laguna late last year. Like the PBA, the event observed strict health protocols.

“Although we are advocating the policy of self-regulation among our professional sports associations, we are still thankful to all the leaders of these organizations for recognizing the value of government regulations over the conduct of sports,” said Mitra.

Aside from 3x3, GAB also gave pro status to the National Basketball League (NBL), Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) and Premier Volleyball League (PVL).

These leagues are expected to resume competition this year.

Mitra, however, sees more sports going professional to be able to return to action this 2021.

Some of these soon to be professional leagues include Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR), Weaponize MMA Fighting or Juego Todo, Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, and table tennis.

”We are really excited about these developments as there will be more sports associations turning pro this year,” he said.