GAB chair Mitra on harassment to Nambatac: 'This has to stop'

Rey Nambatac was a subject of bashing from sports bettors after his buzzer-beater deprived them of a win. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra could not help but rue on the harassment Rain Or Shine star Rey Nambatac and his girlfriend received in the aftermath of his team's game against Phoenix on Wednesday night.

The Fuel Masters completed a comeback from 14 points down to take the second seed and send the Elasto Painters down to the eighth seed in the PBA quarterfinals.

[Related Story: Phoenix rises to take 2nd seed in PBA playoffs]

However, with the outcome already decided, Nambatac scored a hurried triple at the final buzzer for the endgame margin of two, drawing the ire of fans who bet on Phoenix to cover the minus-2.5 spread, that is, the bettors could have profited if Phoenix won by three points or more—in that case, five—as well as those who bet for "0-5" in the so-called "ending", that is, predicting the last digits of the final score, as the outcome read 90-88 instead of 90-85.

Some fans messaged Nambatac their disgust about his buzzer beater on his Facebook account, and he responded with choice words of his own.

However, one fan stooped low and messaged what Nambatac considered as a death threat to him and partner Kiesha Ancheta.

The said fan later claimed that he was hacked last month and he would never do such act to the couple.

"This has to stop," Mitra simply said late Thursday night.

He also lauded Nambatac and others who have been unearthing such threats from sports bettors.

"These players deserve to be applauded for exposing this and at the same time [they should have] police protection," Mitra further said.

He then vowed to intensify the crackdown on illegal sports betting and game fixing.

"We ask the help of law enforcement agencies to work with GAB to battle this as well as illegal gambling and game fixing activities," Mitra concluded.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_