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GAB now 'studying' Blackwater's response about rushed return to practice

The Elite could get a separate sanction from GAB about what was initially deemed as a hurried return to practice. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Games and Amusements Board is now looking into the Blackwater Elite's side of the story regarding an alleged practice session that they did amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra said that the Ever Bilena franchise responded to its show cause order about what really happened in that team gathering.

"Today (Friday) we received their letter and we are studying it," Mitra said in a statement.

He then said that Blackwater governor Silliman Sy called him "the other day" and reiterated that his older brother Dioceldo was "misquoted" when he said in an online interview that he saw his team back in practice.

Dioceldo Sy claimed that he saw two players doing a shootaround and he quickly presumed that they were already practicing.

To further explain their side, the Sy Brothers, according to Mitra, have requested a meeting with GAB commissioner Eduard Trinidad and legal division chief Ermar Benitez.

The Elite's explanation on the shootaround will serve as the basis on whether GAB will sanction them too or spare them altogether.

The PBA on Thursday slapped Blackwater with a PHP100,000 fine for practicing without the formal approval of the joint administrative order made by GAB, Philippine Sports Commission, and the Department of Health regarding the athletes' training.

[Related Story: Blackwater slapped with PHP100K fine for ill-advised practice sesh]

Mitra, however, said that GAB is taking action on Blackwater's alleged practice carefully "as this might jeopardize the efforts of GAB, PBA and our sports patrons who have done our very best in requesting the IATF permission to practice even during the pandemic."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_