FilBasket says will work with GAB for pro status

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2022 11:10 PM

FilBasket FB
Photo from FilBasket's Facebook page.

The management of the Filipino Basketball League (FilBasket) has vowed to work with the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) and comply with the rules as it plans to turn into a professional league in its next tournament. 

"We have already notified the GAB through email last December 7, 2021 of our withdrawal of appeal and our intent to turn pro for our next tournament," said FilBasket Commissioner Jai Reyes in a statement.

But Reyes argued there was nothing unlawful with the inaugural tournament they staged late last year because "it was amateur in nature" and therefore did not need permission from GAB.

"We held a short 26-day tournament to help our athletes and staff play again as basketball was not allowed during the pandemic. Our tournament was an invitational and we did not have any franchise teams," he said.

Reyes also argued that the players were not given salaries. Instead, they were given allowances to "help them given the pandemic."

"(It has) no difference from the allowances given to players in collegiate leagues. No difference from recreational and LGU/Baranggay/city leagues where players are paid as 'hugot' as well as promotional/marketing basketball events where players are paid to participate," he said.

This, however, runs contrary to the ruling of the Office of the President which deemed FilBasket's tournament as "unlawful."

“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the inaugural tournament of FilBasket being held at Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales, is hereby declared ‘UNLAWFUL’ for violation of Section 3 and 4 of PD 871,” said the resolution issued by the Office of the President on January 13.

“Accordingly, pursuant to Section 2(i) of PD 871 authorizing the Board to order the suspension of any game in case of violation or non-compliance with the provisions of the said decree or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, respondent Filipino Basketball League is hereby ordered to ‘Cease and Desist from continuing its inaugural tournament at the Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales and from conducting any other similar tournaments or games without the appropriate permits and licenses from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).”

GAB previously issued a cease and desist order on FilBasket for alleged violations of Presidential Decree No. 871, or the law placing professional basketball under the supervision and regulation of GAB.

The agency labeled Filbasket as a professional tournament since players received salaries from the 11 participating teams.

FilBasket filed an appeal before the Office of the President, but later decided to withdraw after completing the tournament last November. The Office of the President accepted the withdrawal. 

GAB Chairman Abraham "Baham" Mitra advised FilBasket to comply in the future, citing that the agency is welcome to assist.

“FilBasket’s previous defiance was ill-advised as the rules on this matter are already well-established. GAB’s advice to organizers is to comply with the law and GAB will always be there to assist in any way it can within the bounds of its mandate,” he said.

Reyes said they are planning to work with GAB in the future as they gear to becoming a professional league.

"We look forward in working with the GAB in our future tournaments as they can help FilBasket grow further as a professional league," he said.