The Games and Amusement Board does not want to over-step with how professional sports leagues run its shows as much as possible, as it fully believes in their capabilities of doing so.
And that is the same approach the body is taking with regards to the Philippine Basketball Association and Phoenix Super LPG star Calvin Abueva, who has been suspended by the league for over a year now.
“We are separate from what the PBA is doing,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum Tuesday, powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp. Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, MILO, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
“Sabi ko nga, we don’t want to over-regulate — we always believe in self-regulation. We only come in ‘pag malaki na ‘yung problema,” added Mitra, who has been heading GAB since 2016.
Still, Mitra looks forward to hearing from the Kapampangan cager once he gets cleared by the PBA to play again. After all, GAB is the regulatory body of professional sports in the country.
It would be remembered that the GAB looked into the case last year and considered revoking Abueva’s pro license not just due to his PBA on-court issues but also because of his involvement in a ‘ligang labas’ game.
“There has been no communication between Calvin Abueva and the GAB. In case the PBA thinks na okay na siya, then he will have to also try to at least reach out to us,” said Mitra.
Abueva got slapped with an indefinite ban back in June last year due to two separate incidents early in the Commissioner’s Cup. First were his alleged lewd gestures towards Ray Parks’ girlfriend, followed by his clothesline hit on TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones just days later. He was also made to pay a hefty fine by the league that totalled to P 70,000.
“We have observed his improper and unprofessional decorum in the games. You think he’s worth being called a professional player? ‘Di ba? Nananakit na, eh. It’s unbecoming of a professional player,” Mitra said.
“Hindi na tama yung ginawa niya, nakakasakit na siya eh. Nakakatakot baka mamaya maka-injure na yan ng ibang professional at magkaproblema pa yung livelihood nila.”
Abueva, however, has since been doing his best to prove that he is a changed man. He has apologized for his actions and has also been deeply involved with community service programs not just of the PBA but of his mother team as well.
In fact, the San Sebastian product extended a helping hand to those affected by the Taal Volcano eruption last January. He has also contributed greatly to the Fuel Masters’ effort to provide aid in this pandemic.
The 32-year-old has also been complying with the requirements the league has given him for his reinstatement, such as drug tests and psychological therapy sessions, which he was actually set to accomplish until the pandemic struck.
The GAB, of course, welcomes such development. So now, Mitra hopes that the 6-foot-2 Abueva, who’s now in his seventh season in the pro ranks, has really changed for the better.
“Ngayon kung nadisplina na siya, he can probably present what steps and proper therapy sessions he has undergone. And then if he convinces the board then okay lang din lang sa’min,” he said.
“Ako I believe in him, he’s a very good player, talagang very athletic tsaka prolific tsaka makakatulong sa team. Pero sana naman, mag-tame down na ng konti. Sana mag-comply din siya.”
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