MANILA, Philippines -- The PBA has measures in place to safeguard against game-fixing, commissioner Willie Marcial assured after the recent controversies that rocked the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
The young league expelled one of its teams, the Siquijor Mystics, from the Visayas leg of its competition earlier this month after allegations of game-fixing. The Mystics were involved in a farcical game against the ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu City, which was called off at the half when officials on the ground grew suspicious.
Lapu Lapu City players and coaches were also suspended, while the players and coaches of Siquijor were given lifetime bans from the league.
Speaking at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, Marcial commended the league as well as the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) for their swift action.
"Tama ang ginagawa ng GAB. Sila ang may mandato na government agency sa anti-gambling, sa kanila 'yun," said Marcial.
"'Yung ginawa ng VisMin organizers, nangyari din sa atin 'yan. Nangyari sa D-League, tinanggal natin ang isang team," he added.
In early 2018, Mila's Lechon disbanded its ball club following a series of brutal losses that included a 47-point defeat against Zark's Burger Lyceum. The team lost by an average of over 26 points in the four games they played in the D-League.
Marcial said that in his capacity as commissioner, he has made it a point to discuss with players whenever they have an "off night."
"Ako, ang ginagawa ko, personal," he explained. "Kunwari, sasabihin mo naman talaga na may off night. 'Pag may off night ang player, kinakausap ko 'yun, kinakusap ko sila."
But more than personally conferring with each player, Marcial revealed that the PBA also works with government agencies to ensure that there will be no illegal activities conducted.
"Meron din tayong mga ahensiya diyan," he said. "Panahon ata ni commissioner Chito Narvasa, may mga NBI (agents) tayo noon na nasa venue. Meron tayo lagi na NBI noon."
"So hindi naman tayo pabaya," he stressed.
Marcial also reiterated their willingness to work with both GAB and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to weed out those involved in game-fixing and gambling.
"GAB sa pro, sa amateur (ang) SBP. 'Yun ang magpa-pastol sa mga 'yan. Pwede sabihin sa amin na blacklisted 'to," he said. "Tingnan lang natin -- SBP, GAB, mga pro leagues, magsama-sama lang tayo, malulutas natin 'to."
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