Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas, who backed the 2021 Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, expressed his frustrations regarding the controversial game between ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu City and Siquijor Mystics.
In a letter sent to the league's chief operations officer Rocky Chan, Mascariñas demanded that the league "swiftly impose sanctions against all erring parties, as may be warranted by the rules and the evidence."
On Thursday afternoon, the Siquijor Mystics, including the coach and his staff, have been expelled from the VisMin Super Cup. The players and coaches of the Siquijor team are not allowed to join any other club in the VisMin Super Cup as well.
Certain players of Lapu Lapu City will also be suspended.
Fines were also meted against several players.
Chooks-to-Go decided to sponsor the league only a day before the Visayas Leg of the professional basketball league tipped off last April 9.
"As title sponsor of the inaugural conference of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. (BAVI) and its flagship brand Chooks-to-Go gave the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup our full support because of our shared advocacy for Philippine basketball," said Mascariñas in his letter.
"However, we have witnessed with deeply disturbing concern how the quality and integrity of the games in the league have plunged steeply in just a week’s run."
"As a result, unflattering speculations are now circulating among viewers about the motives for such wanton neglect of all known rules and standards on professional basketball games the public has come to expect, and demand. To be blunt, suspicions of game-fixing, illegal activities, and a deliberate effort to defraud the league’s fans, patrons and supporters are now gaining currency."
The game between Lapu-Lapu City and Siquijor was stopped at halftime with a score of 27-13 with the former leading. The league cited "technical issues" as the reason for the stoppage.
However, the game itself was marred by air-balled free throws, botched fastbreak attempts, and mind-boggling turnovers.
Moreover, it saw Siquijor score only five points in the opening frame and eight in the second. On the other hand, the Heroes only had four points during the second quarter.
Both squads also attempted and missed an unusual number of free throws as Siquijor missed all 10 of their free-throw attempts, while allowing Lapu-Lapu to attempt 19 in 20 minutes of action.
As title sponsor to the league, Mascariñas, who also owns a professional sports league of his own in Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, demanded full disclosure on the investigation and swift sanctions against all who have been deemed to be culprits in the incident.
"We have supported and lent our name to the league because we sincerely believed in your noble objective to provide a livelihood to deserving and promising basketball players amid the pandemic. We believed that the players have been blessed with a new and, currently, the only active league. We also believed that this will help rally and boost the nation’s morale in these difficult times," he said.
"In view of the foregoing, we demand that a full and detailed disclosure be made to our company and the public by the league and the teams involved in the conduct and results of their joint investigation with the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) on the aforementioned incident," he added.
FROM THE ARCHIVES