Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas lauded the ‘swift and strong’ response of both the Games and Amusements Board and the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup on the farcical game between Siquijor and ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu.
It resulted in a whole team handed lifetime banishment from the league, while a revocation of pro licenses is still in play. There were also players suspended and fines handed.
However, Mascariñas questioned why the Mindanao leg of the country’s first pro league in the south was suspended as well.
“The Mindanao leg, composed of different sets of management teams and players, and different sets of games, has not even started yet. The only way to justify such better-safe-than-sorry preemptive action is to suspect the entire Mindanao leg of serious copycat tendencies, or worst, possible agreement to commit the same April 14 infamy,” read Mascariñas’ statement.
“In law and ordinary logic, the only way to attribute an act of one as an act of all is to prove conspiracy – a meeting of the minds to commit a wrong.”
Last Sunday, GAB suspended the Mindanao leg of the tournament set to begin on May 20 in Dipolog.
A total of nine teams have confirmed participation in the tournament. As such, preparations for it are underway for the Basilan Peace Riders, the Cagayan De Oro Rafters, the Zamboanga Los Valientes, the Pagadian Explorers, the Roxas Vanguards, the Sindagan Saints, and teams from Tawi-Tawi; Valencia City, Bukidnon; and Ozamis.
For Mascariñas— a proud son of Butuan City — the Visayas leg should have been suspended instead of Mindanao.
“It beggars belief that GAB could be acting, in this case, out of an abundance of caution, because the Visayas leg, where the shocking parody of professionalism in basketball was played, was not even suspended at all. It was allowed to go on, ostensibly, under ‘further observation’,” continued his statement.
“If wrongful acts committed in a single match in Cebu, and not by any means attributable to all the teams playing in the Visayas leg, did not stop the games there, by what contorted stretch of logic or the imagination did it justify the wholesale suspension of the games in Mindanao?” he opined.
“The investigations in Cebu, plain enough for ordinary fans to see, have not even been completed yet.”
He continued that the sin of a few should not be suffered by the whole.
“Justice is not justice if it punishes the innocent with the guilty, however temporarily. Players are being deprived of livelihoods and fans of a boost to morales. In these difficult times, these may never be fully recovered, if at all,” he shared.
“Worst, and even more profound, by suspending the Mindanao leg as a whole, it allows the right to be held hostage by wrong, the many who are innocent, to be hijacked by the few.“
With this, the owner of the country’s first-ever professional 3×3 basketball league is appealing to GAB to reconsider the suspension of the Mindanao teams.
For him, the Visayas teams are separate from the teams from Mindanao despite playing under one umbrella.
“The purpose of justice in sports is to protect the love of the game, our players, our fans, and our patrons. Ultimately, because of its powerful impact, for good or ill, on the moral fiber of society, it is to protect ourselves,” he said.
“This cannot be served by curing a wrong with another wrong, especially when it is a bigger wrong. Let us hope GAB reconsiders its decision.”