Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is looking at the alleged game-fixing incident that took place in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup last Wednesday that has made the upstart league the talk of the town since.
SBP president Al Panlilio said that he had already tasked executive director Sonny Barrios and director of operations Butch Antonio to investigate the issue surrounding the controversial game between Siquijor and Lapu-Lapu.
That match was marred with botched free throws and missed wide-open lay-ups, and also saw both teams combine for just 12 points before the match was called off at halftime, with the score at 27-13 in favor of the Heroes.
A day later, VisMin’s top brass handed out a bevy of harsh sanctions for both ball clubs following a thorough investigation, including the expulsion of the entire Mystics team from the league.
“I already asked ED Sonny Barrios and Butch Antonio to investigate what happened kasi hindi ito acceptable in any sport,” Panlilio told Power and Play.
“They were the only few who were privileged to play and they should take advantage of that. There’s a great responsibility of being given that chance and they have to show the youth how the game should be played.”
Panlilio bared that he himself was aghast upon learning about the issue, which has undeniably put the league in a bad light.
“I was aghast with that incident. It’s completely disrespecting the game that we love. It’s a complete disrespect for the game,” said the amiable executive, who’s also the governor of Meralco in the PBA.
“Even FIBA will frown on this.”
Such an incident, Panlilio added, could also hurt the newly-found league’s partners, particularly title sponsor Chooks-to-Go, who was once the major backer of the Gilas Pilipinas program.
“It’s terrible for sponsors like Chooks-to-Go. it will destroy their brand. There’s nothing good about it at all.”
Asked if the federation could sanction VisMin Super Cup and the entities involved in the controversy, Panlilio believes so.
“I think from the federation’s point-of-view, we can sanction them maybe by suspending the players and the league. Definitely, we need to sanction them. I just want to make sure that we make the right application of sanctions.”
Panlilio also said that the Samahan will soon discuss matters with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the country’s regulatory body of professional sport, to avoid things like this next time.
Moreover, the federation is looking to meet the agency with regards to having a stricter accreditation.
“Part of this would really be a discussion with GAB,” he said. “From SBP’s point of view, we do a membership eligibility committee that leagues apply to SBP. I’m not sure whether VisMin applied, but we have a criterion for membership. If you become a member, you are part of the voting for the national congress and we’re very strict with our eligibility rules.
“There are criteria required to become a member. We will have to work with GAB on how to avoid such things moving forward.”