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Davao Occi owner Rep. Bautista: ‘The MPBL trophy is not worth the lives of people’

For Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista, team owner of MPBL club Davao Occidental, the health and safety of his players and team members are paramount.

She is willing to give up the Tigers’ quest for the division and national titles of the stalled Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season finals, just to make sure their lives are not put at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The safety and health of our players, the team, their families are our priority,” said Bautista of Dumper PTDA party-list.

“The championship trophy is not worth the lives (of people).”

No wonder, Bautista, daughter of Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista, agrees with the decision of MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, with the concurrence of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, MPBL Founder and CEO, to scrap the 2020-2021 season supposed to start June 12.

The division finals — which pit the Tigers against the Basilan Steel in the South and the San Juan Knights against the Makati Super Crunch in the North —  also got derailed by the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the Tigers-Steel and Knights-Super Crunch playoffs were tied at 1-1 and slated for Game 3 deciders then.

“We will conform with what the MPBL decides,” said Bautista. “Let us not push matters during these uncertain times.

“If possible, we shouldn’t resume play until a vaccine is found.”

While the MPBL waits for the go-signal from the national government to resume sporting activities indoors, Bautista said the Tigers are training in their homes under the guidance and monitoring of their physical fitness trainer via Zoom.

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Knowing venues would be a problem for the division finalists because of travel and social distancing protocols, Bautista said the Tigers are willing to play in a neutral venue where the teams could play to wrap up the playoffs.

Bautista also assured the Cocolife-backed Tigers would participate in a pre-season tournament being planned as soon as restrictions got lifted.

“We’re committed to staying in the MPBL.”

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