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Filbasket to turn pro as league deemed ‘unlawful’, not amateur in nature

When the next Filbasket tournament happens, it will no longer be an “amateur” league.

League founder Jai Reyes looks to coordinate with the Games and Amusements Board on the steps Filbasket needs to make to turn professional.

“As for our first tournament, it was amateur in nature,” explained Reyes about the league’s inaugural tournament which took place from October 28-November 22 in Subic. “We held a short 26-day tournament to help our athletes and staff play again as basketball was not allowed during the pandemic. Our tournament was an invitational and we did not have any franchise teams

“We have already notified the GAB through email last December 7, 2021 of our withdrawal of appeal and our intent to turn pro for our next tournament.”

GAB Chairman Baham Mitra though said the only email they received was a notice of appeal.

“It was just a ‘Notice of Appeal’, a one-page email,” shared Mitra. “After that, we transmitted the records to the Office of the President as per rules of procedure. Filbasket was supposed to file its Memorandum on Appeal.

“It did not get to the point where they had to file the memo on appeal that they withdrew.”

Questioned was the league’s status during its inaugural staging as it did not fit the category of an amateur league set by the Philippine Sports Commission and GAB back in 2020.

Filbasket claimed that the 11 teams that joined the league did not have franchise fees and the players were only paid “allowances.”

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However, GAB raised that majority of the players in the league had pro licenses that were still active while Filbasket itself had blue-chip sponsors, making it a for-profit league.

Filbasket raised an appeal to the Office of the President regarding the cease and desist order sent to them by GAB.

Though the appeal was withdrawn last December 6, Malacañang deemed that any future activities of the league cannot take place without the sanctioning of GAB.

“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the inaugural tournament of Filbasket being held in Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales is hereby unlawful for violation of Section 3 and 4 of Presidential Decree 871,” read the resolution.

“Accordingly, pursuant to Section 2(i) of P.D. 871 authorizing Board to order the suspension of any game in case of violation or non-compliance with the provisions of the said decree or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, respondent Filipino Basketball League (Filbasket) is hereby ordered to cease and desist from continuing its inaugural tournament at the Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zarnbales and from conducting any other similar tournaments or games without the appropriate permits and licenses from the Garnes and Amusements Board.”

For Mitra, this should serve as a lesson for future organizers.

“Even if Filbaset withdrew its appeal any similar violation of PD 871 — by Filbasket or other pro-leagues — will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” explained Mitra.

“Filbasket’s previous defiance was ill-advised as the rules on this matter were already well-established. GAB’s advice to organizers is to comply with the law and GAB will always be there to assist in any way it can within the bounds of its mandate.”

It remains unknown what the future holds for Filbasket. But Reyes stressed that their next move will happen in coordination with GAB.

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“We look forward to working with the GAB in our future tournaments as they can help Filbasket grow further as a professional league,” said Reyes.

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