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Office of the President declares FilBasket bubble tourney 'unlawful'

FilBasket's bubble event in Subic has been declared "unlawful" by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte's office. FilBasket (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Office of the President dropped another hammer on FilBasket as it ruled its inaugural bubble season in Subic as "unlawful".

In a resolution made on Thursday which was only publicized over the weekend, the OP sided with the Games and Amusements Board after the latter issued a cease and desist order in the fledging club basketball league for putting up such bubble without the agency's approval.

“In view of the foregoing, the inaugural tournament of FilBasket being held at Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales, is hereby declared ‘unlawful’ for violation of Section 3 and 4 of PD 871,” the resolution said.

It further reads, “Accordingly, pursuant to Section 2(i) of PD 871 authorizing the Board to order the suspension of any game in case of violation or non-compliance with the provisions of the said decree or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, respondent Filipino Basketball League is hereby ordered to cease and desist from continuing its inaugural tournament at the Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales and from conducting any other similar tournaments or games without the appropriate permits and licenses from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).”

GAB chairman Baham Mitra ruled that FilBasket is professional in nature and should have secured an approval at his office to push through with the bubble pursuant to the joint administrative order for conducting sports activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this, FilBasket, which insisted that it is de jure amateur, went through with its debut event last November with AICC Manila winning it all.

The core of the squad would later join the MPBL Invitational as Basilan-Jumbo Plastic-Medical Depot and would win the championship there too, capping a solid 2021 which began by winning the inaugural Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup championship.

FilBasket, led by former PBA player Jai Reyes, launched an appeal after the revelation of GAB's order, but according to Mitra, the appeal was "deemed withdrawn" by the OP.

"The case is closed there," Mitra added.

He further said that he will continue monitoring the situation to "prevent violation of the law governing professional sports in the Philippines."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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