PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial reiterated that stringent measures are in place to prevent game-fixing from taking place in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
This is in light of the recent controversy involving the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup. Siquijor and Lapu-Lapu City figured in a controversial match marred by botched free throws and missed wide-open lay-ups.
He then lauded the quick action taken by the league and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB). The governing bodies handed down harsh penalties to players and coaches, including the expulsion of the Mystics from the league.
“Tama ‘yung ginagawa ng GAB. Kasi sila talaga ang mandato. At ‘yung ginawa ng VisMin organizers, okay ‘yun,” the amiable executive told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast Tuesday.
These actions led to Marcial recalling the time when the PBA D-League blacklisted select individuals from Mila’s Lechon in 2018. The team disbanded after losing by a questionable margin of 26.25 points in the four games it played.
“Kasi nangyari rin sa atin ‘yan eh, sa D-League, na tinanggal din natin ‘yung isang team. Sinuspend natin ‘yung mga players,” he said.
The league also takes other actions in the developmental ranks. Marcial himself does his own policing when some pros have off-night outings.
“Ang sa’kin, ginagawa ko, personal,” he said. “Masasabi mo rin naman talaga may off-night eh. ‘Pag may off-night na player, kinakausap ko ‘yun.
“Kinakausap ko sila. Kahit tanong mo sa kanila. ‘O, ba’t ganito laro mo?’ ‘Comm, ganito…’ Kinakausap ko ‘yung mga players. Kinakausap ko sila — ‘di lang lima o anim na players na kinakausap ko personal. ‘Yun ang ginagawa ko.”
Marcial also recalled the time when the league tapped the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation during the term of Comm. Chito Narvasa.
“Meron din tayong mga ahensya diyan na dati, panahon yata ni Comm. Chito Narvasa. May mga NBI tayo noon na nasa venue lagi,” said the fourth-year league chief.
“Hindi naman tayo pabaya.”
Marcial is aware that game-fixing and point-shaving has long been an issue in the game. Still, he believes that it could be dealt with accordingly as long as the league and basketball’s powers-that-be work together.
“Magsama-sama lang tayo, ‘yung SBP, (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) GAB, lahat ng liga, malulutas natin ‘to eh.”