THE successful staging of bubble tournaments during the pandemic by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Premier Volleyball League (PVL) and Philippine Football Federation (PFF) were highlighted during the third Professional Sports Summit organized by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) last Sept. 29.
GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham Mitra said the successful hosting of bubble tournaments of the three leagues could “serve as a model template for other sports organizations to follow.”
The PBA, PVL and PFF shared their experiences and best practices in successfully organizing tournaments during the pandemic-interrupted sporting season.
The PBA, Asia’s first play-for-pay league, was represented by deputy commissioner Eric Castro and Joey Guanio; the PVL, the country’s first pro volleyball league, was reresented by Ricky Palou; and the PFF was represented by Atty. Edwin Gastanes.
“The PBA ia a huge family who looks out for each other , accountable and responsible for each other. The virus is here to stay, but we have to continue living and finding ways to battle it and work through it through innovations,” the PBA said a detailed video presentation on its best practices during the pandemic.
“Managing the competition is easy, because the PBA has been around for 46 years already, but there’s an added pressure, an added greater responsibility of keeping everyone safe and healthy.”
“There is no sure way to avoid a COVID-free cinference or season. But as one PBA coach said, the battle now is in two fronts: the basketball competition itself and the virus. We are only as good as our last swab test dahil pag tinalo tayo ng virus, wala na yung basketball.”
The PVL was also successful because of the all-out support of Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc, who hosted the league bubble, and Mitra, who provided the much-needed guidance and assistance.
“Planning to do a bubble was the hardest part because it involved making sure we set up the proper safety protocols,” said Palou during the PVL presentation.
“Our priority was to keep everyone safe and healthy according to the guidelines of the IATF, DOH and GAB,” added Palou, saying the PVL mobilized 16 tourist buses to ferry the players of the 10 teams and staff from Manila to Ilocos Norte and booked two hotels to accommodate the entire group for almost a month.
He claimed the PVL spent a total of P31-million out of the total estimated budget of P37-million because of the compressed playing schedule from July 17 to Aug. 13 in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
“We’re grateful for the cooperation of everyone. Even GAB chairman Baham took a land trip to Ilocos and stayed to watch games. The three GAB staffers (Reginald Capareda, Daniel Badajos, Ronnie Flores) assigned to us were of great help,” explained Palou.
“We used to think GAB was like a policeman looking for violations to order fines and suspensions. Now that we’re a pro league, we realized GAB is with us to assist and help us succeed.”
Six of the country’s har-working and sports-minded lawmakers — Senators Bong Go, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano and Cong. Jericho Nograles — also delivered inspirational messages to the delight of the sports community.
All six lawmakers assured their suppor to the Filipino athletes during the pandemic.
The other resource speakers were Atty. Paul Elauria of Professional Chess Association of the Philippines, Chino Trinidad of Pilipinas Vis-Min Cup, Mark Zambrano of Chooks-to-Go 3×3, Rose Montreal of National Basketball League, Steven Uytengsu of IronMan Triathlon, Mohamed Shariz of Philippine Golf Tour, Inc. and Nico Nazario of esports.
Also present during the summit were Brico Santig of Highland Boxing Promotions, Jim Claude Manangquil of Sanman Promotions, Charlemagne Marban III of Marban Promotions, Atty. Danrex Tapdasan of the Association of Philippine Professional Boxing Ring Officials (APPBRO), Alberto “Brembot” Dulalas of Mindanao Professional Boxing Officials Association, boxing judge-ring announcer Romulo Marlou J. Neri, and Visayas boxing referee Nicholas Banal.
Mitra initiated the first pro sports summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on September 2019.
Among those present were Sens. Go and Angara, basketball hero William “Bogs” Adornado, billiards legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante and former boxing champion Gerry Peñalosa.
Last year, GAB staged the second pro summit via Zoom in December.