Dioceldo Sy bares real reason why he’s selling Blackwater franchise
MANILA, Philippines–Potential fines and suspensions shoehorned an exit plan into Blackwater’s PBA existence.
Saying he was “pushed to the wall,” Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy announced Wednesday that he is selling the franchise after his team was threatened with fines and sanctions from both the Philippine Basketball Association and the Games and Amusements Board for a violation of strict health and safety protocols after holding a practice session recently outside of the league’s closed-circuit approach to a restart.
“I was offended, bullied and pushed to the wall,” Sy told the Inquirer Wednesday night after GAB chair Baham Mitra said the Elite could face sanctions for holding practice with the Joint Administrative Order of the GAB, Philippine Sports Commission, the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease yet to be signed.
“We were excited when it was announced that practices would be allowed. We had two players shooting around. What’s wrong with that? What did I violate? This is a non-issue for me and we will get sanctioned for that?” an emotional Sy said.
As reports began sprouting regarding the potential PBA and GAB sanctions, Sy admitted that “my heart is no longer into basketball and the PBA” and attached a P150 million price tag to his franchise.
“That’s the minimum I am willing to sell it for,” said Sy. “If someone is willing to buy, good. If not, we will continue playing in the PBA.”
The IATF decision was announced last July 3 by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, but PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the league has yet to receive the JAO from the Task Force, which means that teams are still not allowed to hold practices amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PBA is targeting July 22 as the tentative date for the restart of practices.
“They (Blackwater) will be dealt with separately by the PBA and the GAB,” said Mitra in a statement, even as recent developments point to the team being fined by the PBA as a whole after Barangay Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar and Rain or Shine rookie Adrian Wong were slapped P20,000 fines two weeks ago for playing in a 5-on-5 game at a private gym in San Juan.
“Possible fines and suspensions will be issued. They violated the omnibus guidelines of the IATF on safety protocols,” added the GAB chief, who has also written Blackwater governor Silliman Sy seeking an explanation for their actions.
Mitra required Sy to show cause in writing why disciplinary action should not be taken against the team.
Blackwater’s practice was discovered when Sports Page, a program of TV5, interviewed Sy, who was quoted as saying: “I personally saw them last Saturday. I went to the practice. I saw the protocol. What we’re doing is very strict and what we did is we put the teams in 8×8. Today will be eight players in two hours, four players per hour.”
Sy’s only problem, though, is that the only time teams can start even seeing each other is on July 22, which is a violation of the deal that the IATF, through the endorsement of the GAB, awarded the PBA in its appeal to restart its 45th Season.
“Please be reminded that although the IATF already approved team training through IATF Resolution No. 51, the GAB and DOH have yet to sign the Joint Administrative Order,” Mitra said in his letter. “The JAO will serve as the implementing guidelines which shall govern the conduct of professional and non-professional sports training while the country is under community quarantine.”
Marcial said the league has yet to decide what action it would take against the Elite, pending their response to his letter addressed to team board representative Silliman Sy on Tuesday.
Marcial, however, could not be reached for comment on Sy’s plan to put his franchise up for sale.
Blackwater will need an approval of the board before it can sell its franchise
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