Misquoted, says owner’s brother on practice talk; Nash says team morale still intact
The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) said it continued to worry about the fallout of Blackwater’s recent unauthorized practice session even as a team official said the controversial training may not have taken place at all.
As this developed, Blackwater coach Nash Racela, who took over the squad in the offseason, said the team is doing good despite reports about the franchise being put on sale.
“We received a call from Mr. Siliman Sy saying that his brother was just misquoted,” GAB Chair Abraham Mitra told the Inquirer on Friday evening.
Sy represents the team in the PBA’s board of governors. His brother, Dioceldo Sy, owns the franchise and stirred the controversy when he mentioned in an interview that he dropped by to oversee a practice by the Elite in a Quezon City gym.
Mitra did not divulge other details of the phone call or of the letter Blackwater officials sent to arrange a meeting with the GAB.
The practice was held at a time when the GAB had yet to release the signed order officially allowing basketball and football professionals to return to individual training.
“We are being careful as this might jeopardize the efforts GAB, PBA and other sports patrons who have done their very best in [seeking Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’] permission to practice during a pandemic,” Mitra said in a later statement circulated also late Friday.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, who swiftly issued a P100,000 fine on Blackwater and ordered its players and staff to undergo COVID-19 swab testing immediately, had also worried over the fallout.
Marcial had been laying down stringent “closed-circuit” protocols in an effort to restart the PBA’s suspended season and is hoping the Blackwater gaffe doesn’t set the league back.
Dioceldo had threatened to sell the franchise for a whopping P150 million after reports of fines and sanctions sprouted in the wake of his interview where he divulged the practice session.
Racela, who did not comment on the practice session, said the announcement of the sale stunned the squad but the effect didn’t last.
“We were surprised initially,” he admitted. “But the team’s OK now.”
“We’re still very much looking forward to the resumption of practices,” he added. “And the games, [too].”
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