GAB mulls legal action vs new league Filbasket

October 26, 2021 Ed Andaya 500 views

FILBASKET maybe pushing through with its Oct. 28 opening at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), but the newest regional basketball league in the country could be facing legal action from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

That’s because GAB, the country’s governing body in professional sports, claimed Filbasket is “not an amateur event, neither is it aimed solely for the development of the national training pool but actually a professional competition.”

In a letter to GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, Health Undersecretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ATF-EID) advised GAB to “take the appropriate steps moving forward in resolving the issue.”

Atty. Grande also took cognizance of the GAB-Philippine Sports Commission Joint Resolution No. 2020-01 clarifying the the respective areas of responsibilities between professional and amateur athletes in the country.

Last Friday, GAB legal division chief Omar Benitez reiterated that only professional leagues can push through amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on the IATF rules, hindi sila allowed. There’s no approval from GAB. There’s no approval from PSC,” said Benitez during the monthly press conference of the GAB.

Benitez said that the GAB is now studying legal action if Filbasket pushes their tournament, adding a “cease and desist order could occur.”

“As I’ve mentioned, dumiretso sila sa regional task force, not sa IATF, GAB, PSC, at DOH,” explained Benitez.

“Two aspects kasi yan– yun approval ng GAB at PSC and yung pandemic concern. Even if assuming pinayagan sila ng IATF sa local (regional task force), meron pa rin silang sagutin because yung sports regulation, aspects at safety is not covered. Sino yung magre-regulate sa regional? Hindi lang sa aspects ng sports regulation, but also sa health and safety regulations. Kaya nga GAB, PSC at DOH were appointed dahil yan yung mga agencies na may expertise. You cannot just pick any agency or any group to undertake a sports bubble ng walang paalam. Hindi sila pwedeng basta dumiretso,” explained Benitez.

Benitez cited Presidential Decree 871 which placed professional sports under its supervision.

“We will be attacking it from the point of view of PD 871 on the regulation of professional basketball under the GAB. It’s non-negotiable so we have to put our foot down. But we cannot tell you now kung ano yung specific legal actions that will be taken,” Benitez told sportswriters during the monthly briefing.

“We are open for discussions with them (Filbasket) . But at the end of the day, kapag hindi pa rin sila sumunod, abangan na lang kung ano yung magiging legal actions ng GAB about it”
Filbasket, which is being managed by former Ateeno player Jai Reyes and former Sta. Lucia Realty team manager Buddy Encarnado, claims it is a purely amateur league.

He said the 26-day tournament is aimed at helping the players, coaches, and officials to earn money after almost two years of lockdown due to the pandemic.

But he insisted the money to be given to the players is merely an allowance and not payment for playing in the tournament.

A former player himself, Reyes also clarified that Filbasket is willing to work together with GAB once it finally goes full throttle with its pro plans.

“In the near future, hopefully Filbasket grows to be able to execute its business plans. Then, Filbasket will fit the description of a pro league, and we are excited to work with the GAB and their requirements such as paperwork and fees,” said Reyes in a statement.