PBA team Blackwater has mended fences with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), which issued a stern warning to the Elite and other professional ball clubs not to restart their training pending the release of the resolution from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Owner Dioceldo Sy met with GAB Chair Abraham Mitra and GAB Commissioner Eduard Trinidad on Monday to apologize for his statements and his team’s actions that violated strict health and safety rules.

But while the GAB has accepted the apology, Mitra said the agency will still study the possible sanctions on Blackwater following Sy’s admission that the Elite practiced last weekend—days, maybe even weeks—before the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was to be given the green light to start individual training of its players.That start was supposed to be on Wednesday, but commissioner Willie Marcial said that it could be delayed for another week with the IATF yet to give the league the go-ahead.

“We have accepted their apology, but the board needs to study further their reply to our letter if we will sanction or fine them,” said Mitra, who will still discuss with Trinidad and Commissioner Mario Madanguid the sanctions on the Elite. “They (Elite) promised to adhere to all the rules and safety standards plus directives of the IATF and GAB.”Sy is facing backlash from his statements last week. With threats of sanctions hanging over his team, Sy declared that he was putting the franchise up for sale with the price tag of P150 million.

Sy’s statements also did not sit well with PBA board chair Ricky Vargas, who has already received a report from Marcial that will be tackled in the next board meeting.

The league commissioner, who has slapped a P100,000-fine on Blackwater, is slated to meet with Sy on Tuesday to discuss his statements regarding the possible sale of Blackwater and the resumption of workouts.

Sy told the Inquirer last week that he was “offended, bullied and pushed to the wall,” especially after the GAB mentioned that his team could face sanctions for resuming practice with the joint administrative order (JAO) yet to best signed.“Of course, we also felt bad with what he said, but we appreciate the gesture of Mr. Sy to reach out and talk to us,” Mitra told the Inquirer over the phone. “A stern warning may be issued by GAB to Blackwater to refrain from any practice in the meantime that the order has not yet come out. We have also asked them to wait for the IATF resolution and GAB-Philippine

Sports Commission-Department of Health joint administrative order before any workouts so as not to jeopardize our efforts to resume league practices.”Mitra said the JAO will most likely be released this week, which meant that the PBA may not meet its target of resuming practices on Wednesday. INQ


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