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Mending fences

Blackwater officials seek meeting with the GAB, send makeup feelers to PBA board
/ 04:40 AM July 18, 2020

Blackwater’s Mac Belo (center) soars to the basket during an international tournament last year. The Elite have started patching up the damage caused by their team owner’s recent outburst. —TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.NET

Dioceldo Sy, the beleaguered owner of the Blackwater franchise who made incendiary remarks over his team’s breach of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) health protocols, is now looking to repair some of the damage done, the Inquirer learned on Friday.

An Inquirer source said Sy has sought an audience with Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chair Abraham Mitra, purportedly to explain his remarks that revealed how his squad violated stringent health guidelines when it held an unauthorized practice session recently.

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The development was later confirmed by Mitra through a short message to the Inquirer. However, Mitra did not disclose the details of the meeting or contents of the letter sent by Sy.

“Yes a meting is being [arranged] by PBA governor Siliman Sy. We have written them a show cause letter and they have replied but am not at liberty to show it,” Mitra said.

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The GAB chair added that he is now on the process of finalizing the meeting’s schedule. Mitra will be joined in the meeting by GAB Commissioner Eduard Trinidad and lawyer Omar Benitez, the body’s legal counsel.

Sy found himself in hot water the past couple of days over things he said in separate interviews. Guesting in a sports show, Sy said he oversaw a practice session of Blackwater in a Quezon City gym. The remark set off alarm bells because the PBA had not given teams the signal to resume training and the GAB still hadn’t released a signed order allowing the return to training of basketball and football professionals.

The violations of health protocols drew a P100,000 fine from the PBA and a threat of a sanction from the GAB.

As reports filtered out of the fines and sanctions, an emotional Sy told the Inquirer that he felt “offended, bullied and pushed to the wall” and immediately announced he was selling his franchise, even going as far as attaching a P150-million price tag to it.

Sy also insisted that Blackwater’s practice last weekend was a “nonissue” and vehemently protested suggestions he broke league rules.

Those remarks caught the attention of PBA board chair Ricky Vargas, who said “you just don’t come out and say that, because the board needs to know [about any plans of a sale], and approve of it first.”

The board hasn’t received any explanation from Sy yet but a highly placed source told the Inquirer that Blackwater officials have already sent feelers for a meeting with the board to explain its team owner’s outburst.

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The source added Blackwater is hoping to gather board members for a meeting sometime next week.

Sy has said he will stay mum on the issue as he awaits the fallout of the controversy.

Aside from levying the fine, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has also ordered the Elite to undergo swab testing and quarantine procedures.

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TAGS: Blackwater Elite, Dioceldo Sy, Games and Amusements Board, PBA
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