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After historic 2020, GAB vows to do more in years to come

The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) achieved another historic milestone, as professional sports icons, government leaders, professional athletes, coaches, trainers, sports stakeholders, and sports advocates gathered again last Saturday for its Second Professional Sports Summit, with a theme: Innovative Leadership in Crisis. 

GAB Chairman Braham Mitra, together with Commissioners Mario Masanguid and Eduard Trinidad, led the opening of the Summit. More than 280 professional sports stakeholders and sports enthusiasts attended the synchronous online event via Zoom teleconferencing and Facebook live.

“The Second Professional Sports Summit exceeded our expectations.

“During the start of the year when the pandemic has started, the future of sports was very dark and with no hope in sight. Who would have known at the end of the year and even in the midst of the pandemic, the GAB family would grow into having to welcome and embrace more members of its pro sports family?,” said GAB Chairman Baham Mitra.

In the past few months, GAB has been surrounded by difficulties, as the COVID-19 outbreak halted the conduct of sporting events in the country. However, despite all the lockdowns, GAB was able to pull off this annual event despite the differences from last year’s Professional Sports Summit held at the PICC.

“This year has been more than fruitful for the agency and we have been able to have so much with the help of our stakeholders, media friends, government agencies who helped us push for sports resumption to continue to provide livelihoods to the ProSports industry and entertainment to the Filipino fans,” added Chairman Mitra.

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The two national leaders who first gave their special messages to the virtual audience were Senator Joel Villanueva and Senator Sonny Angara.

Senator Joel Villanueva, a former University of Santo Tomas varsity player, delivered his encouraging message in the afternoon session. He congratulated GAB and the members of the professional sports community for the successful virtual event.

“Sa tulong ninyo, alam kong hindi nalalayo ang araw na magkakasama-sama tayong muli sa mga palaro dito sa bansa. Sa ngayon, isang koponan lang po tayo – isang Team Pilipinas sa pinakamalaki at pinakamabigat na laban: ang laban natin sa COVID-19. At tulad po ng napatunayan na ng mga atletang Pilipino noon, mananalo rin po tayo sa labang ito ngayon,” said Senator Villanueva.

While Senator Sonny Angara, the Chairman of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, thanked the legends of Philippine sports for being such an inspiration to the youth.

“Your stories of struggles and success can inspire the future generation of Philippine athletes – alam naman po natin na nandiyan yong raw materials – the next Manny Pacquiao, the next Hidilyn Diaz, the next Paeng Nepomuceno, and among many others – andiyan po – the next Eugene Torre,” said Senator Sonny Angara.

International guests who attended the online Summit were WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC Cares International Chairperson Jill Diamond, former PBA Best Import-turned-school dean Sean Chambers, sports psychologist and John F. Kennedy University alumna Dr. Sheryll Casuga

World boxing legend Gerry Penalosa, chess grandmaster Eugene Torre, world pool legends Efren Bata Reyes and Mr. Django Bustamante, professional motocross champion Jovie Saulog, esports pioneer Julius Mariano, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Deputy Commissioner Eric Emmanuel Castro, professional boxing promoters Mr. Jerome Calatrava and JC Mananquil, sports lawyer Mickey Ingles, UP Octa Research member Dr. Rodrigo Ong, international boxing referee Atty. Danrex Tapdasan, Women National Basketball League executive Ms. Rhose Montreal, Pilipinas Golf Tours Inc. member Mr. Jack Imperial and Sunrise Events General Manager Princess Galura, PFL Commissioner Mikhail Torre, PVL President Ricky Palou, PCAP Founding Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria, Ginebra star L.A. Tenorio, and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters player Matthew Wright joined the live press conference and gave their lectures about their best practices and inspirational talks to the virtual audience.

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