MANILA, Philippines—Saying that getting physical was not new in the Philippine Basketball Association, a former PBA player now sitting on the Games and Amusement Board denied Tuesday that professional basketball games in the Philippines were becoming more violent as alleged in newspaper reports.
Appearing before the Senate committee on games and amusements, GAB commissioner Matthew Gaston said professional cagers during his time had to be more physical and street-smart compared with today’s PBA players, who, he said, were more physically gifted due to advanced training techniques.
“I will probably disagree on the (alleged) trend because during our time—many have been saying—players were more physical [mas magulang] although physically not as strong,” Gaston said at a hearing conducted by Senate games panel chair Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.
“You don’t jump as high, you’re not as strong as players nowadays because they do a lot of weights, have better nutrition, so naturally you needed to be more physical and smart in those days,” said Gaston, a PBA veteran of the 70’s and 80’s.
Gaston said there have been “dirty” players during his time on the hardcourt.
“There are players, whose names I will not mention, that they call dirty. You’re not physical, you’re dirty; meaning you’re out to maim,” Gaston said.
Gaston said that with regard physicality and oncourt violence, “I would say definitely that the PBA is not remiss on reviewing and making sure that there is no physical danger to the players because after every game they would review that together with our GAB [reviewers].”
“In terms of what the rules are now on how the games should be run, every year the PBA makes adjustments. That’s what they do. For instance, what constitutes charging, how we interpret charging fouls, flagrant fouls,” Gaston said.
The inquiry was conducted after Pimentel himself filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the rules of the PBA due to what he called a rising number of violent confrontations in games of the professional basketball league.
In calling for the inquiry, Pimentel cited a newspaper article by William Esposo suggesting that PBA Commissioner Chito Salud must be called to task over the evolution of PBA’s rules and how players and questionable referees glaringly abuse the rules.
According to Pimentel, the article said that not even the International Basketball Federation nor the National Basketball Association tolerate such dirty or rough plays as practiced in the PBA.
Pimentel said that if PBA players will get used to playing with these lax rules it will make local teams lose games in international tournaments.
“If the situation continues it will condition our young peoples’ minds that rough and dirty tactics are good methods to adopt in order to attain a goal,” Pimentel said.