ROUGHLY 24 hours after he turned to social networking site Twitter to accuse the Philippine Basketball Association of game-fixing, Barako Bull center Don Allado made a 180-degree turnaround.
“This is the best league in Asia – hands-down. There is no game-fixing in the PBA. There never was,” Allado said in a press conference shortly after he was summoned to the Commissioner’s office on Thursday morning. “The PBA, I consider, is my home, and I would never do anything to harm its name or integrity.”
Allado, 33, claimed he was not under the influence of alcohol when he fired those controversial tweets, insisting his frustrations only got the better of him.
“It was not my intention to bring the name of the PBA into all of this,” Allado said. “It was frustrations toward the referees, frustrations on missing out on bonuses, of my contract expiring. I was alone. I was scared. I had mixed emotions. I felt like it was a dead end.
“I hope fans can forgive me for what happened and put this behind us so we can move on.”
PBA commissioner Chito Salud later lectured Allado on the virtue of sportsmanship.
“I’m happy to know that Don has issued an apology,” Salud said. “The admission of fault is a virtue that everyone should nourish, I’ve also reminded Don that being gracious in defeat is also a virtue, and assignment of blame has no place in the field of sports.
“All these values can be encapsulated in one word — sportsmanship, and that’s what the PBA is all about.”
The commissioner reiterated his stance that there is no game-fixing in Asia's first play-for-pay league.
“Let me assure the fans, there is no game-fixing here. Our games are played, won and lost, not because of anybody’s control or influence.”
Allado’s tweets were triggered by the non-call in the Energy’s game against Powerade last Tuesday when referee Peter Balao failed to whistle Tigers import Omar Sneed for a three-second violation despite lying flat on his back inside the shaded area for well over the allowed limit.
Balao has since been suspended for the rest of the conference.
Salud related that since he became commissioner, the roster of referees has been reduced from 22 to 14.
“I pruned them down to the 14 that I think are capable of really maintaining the level of competence that’s required. And whenever there are mistakes, we make suspensions. These referees will never be perfect, but they will always be fair and consistent under my watch.”
Salud said the league has done an independent investigation on game-fixers.
“The office of the commissioner is on top of it,” Salud said. “We’re one step ahead of it. We have our own sources on whether or not the PBA is being penetrated by gambling lords. And the answer is no.”