MANILA, Philippines -- Retired PBA star Marc Pingris is taking his newest role in basketball seriously and has already issued a warning to those who intend to try and pull off controversial acts.
Pingris, 40, is now the commissioner of the upstart Pilipinas Super League (PSL), a professional league that will feature teams from the provinces with a special focus on homegrown players.
One of its founders, Rocky Chan, was also involved in another regional league, the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup whose first season last year was rocked by a game-fixing scandal.
Pingris, speaking during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, said he was well aware of what happened in the VisMin Super Cup last year, which resulted in the expulsion of an entire team from the competition.
"May napanood nga ako dati sa liga ni Boss Rocky sa ganyan, at sabi ko, parang 'di pwede sa akin 'yun. Talagang ang nangyayari kasi is, palagi na lang… Parang, imbestigahan, imbestigahan," said Pingris.
"Sa akin, 'pag may nahuli man ako dito, ipapakulong ko talaga. At talagang tutuluyan ko 'yung mga naghahari-harian na mga ganito, dahil sinsira nila 'yung ano eh, hindi lang 'yung pangalan nila, kung 'di pati 'yung liga," he stressed.
The VisMin Super Cup was rocked by controversy in April, when the game between the Siquijor Mystics and the ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu City was called off amid a series of questionable plays on both sides.
League officials eventually expelled the Siquijor Mystics from the competition, while also imposing fines and suspensions on players from the Lapu-Lapu City squad.
The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) got involved as the VisMin Cup was a professional outfit. In October 2021, they announced that they would revoke the licenses of 10 individuals involved in the controversy.
But Pingris said he will not be satisfied with fines and suspensions, as he believes this will not deter the offenders from repeating their mistakes.
"'Yan 'yung talagang babantayan namin nila Boss Rocky na, humihingi din ako ng, sabi ko, 'Kailangan suportahan niyo ako dito, kung may nahuli man ako.' Mapa-player man 'yan, team owner man 'yan, referee man 'yan," said Pingris.
"Talagang gagawin ko talaga 'yung trabaho ko as a commissioner na kung kailangan ipakulong ko kayo, ipapakulong ko kayo. Hindi lang talaga imbestigahan," he added. "Hangga't hindi naano 'yan, kailangan hindi lumalabas sa kulungan 'yan. Kailangan andiyan 'yan, naka-stay 'yan, diyan niyo imbestigahan."
"Hindi 'yung if-fine niyo lang ng P15,000, P20,000. No, kailangan P200,000. Mga ganoon ang ipa-fine niyo diyan para masakit sa kanila. So 'yun."
Chan, for his part, vowed to have learned from his experience in running the VisMin Super Cup. The league was eventually able to finish its first season, although Chan eventually parted ways with the organization and helped establish the PSL instead.
"We will much stricter when it comes to these kinds of issues, about game-fixing or laglag laro ng mga players na 'to," he said.
They have also red-flagged some players, Chan revealed, and informed prospective team owners to be careful of who they recruit to their rosters.
"May mga players kasi na alam natin eh, mga red flags, to be honest, which I learned from last season. Kinausap na namin ang mga team owner nito. Na, just you know, talk to the players," he explained.
"This is a, kumbaga, second chance or opportunity for them, 'di ba?"
The inaugural season of the Pilipinas Super League is tentatively set for March 18, with at least 11 teams competing.