Professional license is a privilege not a right, reminds GAB amid VisMin issue

PILIPINAS VisMin Super Cup officials in a huddle during the controversial game between Siquijor and Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday afternoon. — PILIPINAS VISMIN SUPER CUP

THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) reminded on Wednesday that getting a license to practice a profession is a privilege and not a right, and carries corresponding responsibilities.

This after a game in the just-started Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup was rendered “questionable” and the subject of an investigation by the government pro sports regulator for possible illegal activities by some of the participants.

“We are awaiting the report of our sports regulators inside the bubble to be presented and decided upon by the board in our meeting tomorrow (Thursday). We would like to remind our players that a license to practice profession is not a right, but a concession and a privilege granted by the government,” GAB Chairman Baham Mitra said in a statement.

“Now, if they fail to abide by the rules, the government has the right to step in to impose necessary sanctions or revoke such a privilege. Officials, coaches, and players should act as professionals or lose their licenses. Shape up or ship out!” the statement further read.

GAB was acting after red flags were raised over the match between Siquijor Mystics and ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday afternoon in the league’s “bubble” in Alcantara, Cebu, which was marred by “poor” free throw shooting and botched wide-open fastbreak layups.

In the game, a Lapu-Lapu player at one point shot his free throws with his left hand on the first attempt and with his right on the second. Both attempts missed badly.

In another, a Siquijor player got to steal the ball and was wide open for a layup, but muffed the shot badly and did not make an effort to at least rebound the ball and put it back.

The two were among the instances the GAB were looking into and asking for explanation.

The government agency as well as fans and, even, title league title sponsor Chooks-to-Go, deemed it uncanny that such a game by so-called professional players was played in such a manner, leaving a cloud of doubt suggesting possible game-fixing.

Interestingly, the match was postponed midway due to “power interruption” at the venue, a release from the league said, with Lapu-Lapu City ahead (27-13). It was set to be played at a later date.

As of this writing, the GAB was meeting with VisMin Super Cup officials to discuss the matter, with reports suggesting stiff sanctions for those found in the wrong, including expulsion from the league and revocation of licenses.

“We always believe in self-regulation, but GAB is always ready to step in anytime, especially when integrity is at stake. This needs decisive action as it affects the whole league and whole basketball community,” Mr. Mitra said.

Because of the investigation, the league postponed matches set for Thursday.

Chooks-to-Go, meanwhile, in a statement was seeking for the immediate resolution of the issue and calling for sanctions on those found culpable of wrongdoing. It also expressed its readiness to pull out from the partnership with the league if the need arises.

The Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup kicked off on April 9 with its Visayas leg with the end view of spotlighting basketball talents in the south.

Its Mindanao leg is slated to begin in May. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo