SBP sanctions possible as Panlilio 'aghast' at VisMin Cup game

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2021 10:09 AM

MANILA - Those involved in the controversial VisMin Super Cup game between the ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu City Heroes and the Siquijor Mystics last week are likely to be sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

This, after already being penalized by the league last Thursday. Players and coaches of Siquijor were given lifetime bans, while several Lapu Lapu City players and coaches were fined and suspended. 

They remain under investigation by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) as well.

"I was aghast with that incident," SBP President Al Panlilio said in an interview on "Power and Play," Saturday. "I mean, it's really completely disrespecting the game that a lot of us love. It's really complete disrespect for the game."

The game, which was aired via livestream on the league's Facebook account, saw players miss point blank layups and commit a suspicious amount of turnovers. One player, Rendell Senining, went viral for switching between his left and right hands at the free throw line, though he has since insisted that no game-fixing took place.

The game was stopped at the half, with the VisMin Cup officials initially saying that it was due to a power interruption. Later, however, it became clear that they stopped the game due to its farcical nature. A day later, they levied heavy sanctions on those involved, with more penalties expected in the coming days through GAB, the agency that regulates professional sports in the country.

Panlilio said that the SBP is likely to impose sanctions as well.

"I think, from a federation point of view … we can sanction them by maybe suspending players, the league. I have to check the by-laws," he said.

"But you know, definitely we will need to sanction them. I just want to make sure it's the right application of our sanctions," he added.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios and director of operations Butch Antonio have already been tasked to investigate the incident, Panlilio said.

"Hindi 'to acceptable in any sport, honestly," he stressed.

In a statement on Sunday morning, Panlilio doubled down by condemning "in the strongest terms the travesty that took place" in the game.

"The play of both teams according to the merits of the game was obviously sorely lacking as seen by the viewing public via live streaming," he said. "The SBP took the initial step of looking into the incident by meeting virtually with the Tournament Technical Group, who are SBP ID carrying personnel."

The SBP is in full support of the GAB's investigation, and will study how such incidents can be prevented in the future.

Moreover, they plan to "study how … those guilty of dishonestly playing the game in this deplorable fashion can be penalized, if not banned outright from engaging in the sport of basketball."