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FilBasket yet to make progress in applying for pro status says GAB chief Baham Mitra

If GAB chairman Baham Mitra is to be asked, FilBasket's pro league status remains pending. FilBasket (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra said that his office is still waiting for the prerequisites for FilBasket to turn professional for its second season.

League owner Jai Reyes said last week that as early as Dec. 7, it has already made communications with GAB for the pro league application.

But in an interview over Sports on Air Weekly on Friday, while Mitra said that he indeed received an email from FilBasket last month, a proposal has yet to be submitted to him until now.

"I'm sorry, but we have not received a single proposal from them asking that they turn professional," the former Palawan governor said. "No proposal was ever forwarded."

However, Mitra clarified that his agency remains open for further talks with FilBasket regarding the pro league upgrade.

"Wala namang problema e," he further said. "We are open to any meeting, and our email is always ready to receive any proposal to turn professional."

FilBasket came under fire GAB-wise after the league pushed through with its inaugural season last November amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Subic despite not getting any approval from the agency.

With GAB classifying FilBasket as professional, the agency insisted that the league should have applied for pro status first before going on with its bubble tournament.

GAB then issued a cease and desist order on FilBasket for its debut event, but the league launched an appeal about it.

The Office of the President then sided with GAB and declared FilBasket's tournament "unlawful", although both GAB and FilBasket confirmed that the appeal has been withdrawn probably in preparation for the league's moving up.

"We just want to follow our mandate," Mitra continued. "We're just doing our job. Walang personalan."

If ever the FilBasket situation spills to the new GAB leadership, the outgoing chief hopes that the officers would fast-track the league's application.

"We want the next board and GAB chairman to prod an easier time kasi we want to stand firm on our mandate," Mitra further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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