FILBASKET insisted it has complied with all the requirements set by the government for the staging of a basketball league amid the pandemic, vowing to push through with its October 28 opening despite the threat of legal action from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).
League founder Jai Reyes said Filbasket has coordinated with all concerned government agencies to ensure the safety of the entire league delegation during its inaugural season set in Subic, Zambales.
The GAB on Friday threatened legal action against Filbasket if it pushes through with its October 28 opening, saying the league didn’t have the go-signal from GAB, Philippine Sports Commission, and the Department of Health - the agencies under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of the IATF that supervises the conduct of sports during the pandemic.
However, Reyes said the league complied with DOH Memorandum Circular No. 2021-0011, which set the guidelines for the staging of sports events that are not under the jurisdiction of GAB and PSC. Filbasket is not under the jurisdiction of GAB since it is not a professional league.
In such cases, the DOH stated that the supervision of the event will be done by the local government unit (LGU).
In this regard, the upcoming Filbasket bubble has gained the approval of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) of Central Luzon, he said.
“We have complied with all requirements on how to conduct sports,” said Reyes on Friday.
Aside from the two agencies, Reyes said Filbasket also met with the DOH to discuss the safety protocols inside the Subic bubble.
“DOH was also in the approval meeting from the Regional IATF and the main concern of the meeting was to address all safety and COVID protocols,” said Reyes.
'We want to help the players'
Reyes added the October 28 tip-off will push through as scheduled, despite the GAB statement.
“We really want to help the players get back already,” Reyes added.
Reyes also denied GAB’s claim that it has been issuing a series of communications to Filbasket, saying the league only received a GAB memo saying the league is professional in nature based on the definition of a professional athlete set in the JAO Resolution 2020-01 of GAB and PSC since Filbasket has sponsorships, among others.
Filbasket responded to the GAB letter by clarifying that the league is amateur in nature and teams are only providing “token amounts or allowances” to players for the 26-day duration of the bubble.
Filbasket also clarified that the league's sponsorships are mere exchange deals and any cash infusion is only to help defray the costs of holding the bubble. Filbasket also shelled out its own money to mount the tournament, Reyes added.
From the beginning, Reyes said the first group that Filbasket approached for help last June was GAB, which asked the league to write the IATF.
When it was determined that the league was not under its jurisdiction, Reyes said they were told to follow DOH Memorandum Circular 2021-011, which was exactly what the new league has done.
Even with the conflicting stands, Reyes expressed Filbasket’s willingness to coordinate with GAB in the future, once it decides to turn pro.
“We are willing to work with the GAB once we grow and fit the description of a pro league. This is only our first tournament,” said Reyes. “If we need to go pro by next tournament in case we have a long season and we already fit the pro definition, then we will comply."
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