MANILA, Philippines -- The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is not involved in the disciplinary action that the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has imposed against Phoenix forward Calvin Abueva, but chairman Baham Mitra nonetheless hopes that "The Beast" has learned from his previous mistakes.
Abueva, a former Rookie of the Year and Best Player of the Conference, has been suspended since June 2019 after a series of on-court incidents, including a run-in with the girlfriend of then-Blackwater rookie Ray Parks Jr., and a scuffle with former TNT import Terrence Jones.
He was fined P70,000 last year and suspended indefinitely.
"We are separate from what the PBA is doing... There has been no communication between Calvin Abueva and the GAB," Mitra said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"In case the PBA thinks na okay na siya, then he will have to also try to at least reach out to us. Sabi ko nga kanina, we don't want to over-regulate. We always believe in self-regulation, we only come in 'pag malaki na ang problema," he added.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has required Abueva to undergo a drug test and attend counseling sessions. In an interview last June, Abueva said he has done two of the required six therapy sessions. He has also made a public apology and done community service.
For Mitra, it is crucial that Abueva tones down his antics and acts in a more professional manner, if and when he is reinstated by the league.
The GAB chairman was blunt in saying that Abueva's behavior in the past was "improper," and his decorum "unprofessional."
"You think he's worth being called a professional player? 'Di ba? Nananakit na eh, 'di ba? It's unbecoming na of a professional player," said Mitra.
The final straw for Abueva was when he clotheslined TNT's Jones during a PBA Commissioner's Cup game last year, after which he danced on top of the officials' tables and gave the middle finger to the referees.
"Ngayon, kung na-disiplina na siya, he can probably present what steps and the proper therapy sessions he has undergone, and then if he convinces the board, then okay lang din lang sa amin," said Mitra.
"Pero 'yung mga na-observe namin, parang sumobra na eh. Sumobra na talaga," he added.
Mitra made it clear that he thinks highly of Abueva's abilities as a player, noting that the Phoenix forward was "very athletic" and prolific. However, his extra-curricular activities in games does more harm than good.
"Sana naman mag-tame down na ng kaunti. Hindi na tama 'yung ginagawa niya, nakakasakit na siya eh. Nakakatakot, baka mamaya maka-injure na 'yan ng ibang professional at magka-problema pa 'yung livelihood nila," he said.
"So sana, mag-comply din siya," he added.
Mitra also took the opportunity to warn other professional players to act in a proper manner, lest they risk being stripped of their licenses.
"I-remind lang po natin 'yung mga players, lahat po kayo may lisensya sa Games and Amusements Board. We don't want to overstep, but we're here, we're watching you, and turning pro comes with responsibilities," he said.
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