Mitra offers to assist volleyball

Mitra offers to assist volleyball

MANILA, Philippines — Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra said yesterday if there’s any way the government agency can assist to restart volleyball training, it’s willing to adjust and do what it can for the sport to get back on track under GCQ but the process has to begin with turning pro.

“I’ve been speaking with (PSL chairman) Mr. (Popoy) Juico and we both want volleyball to restart,” said Mitra. “We at GAB want to help volleyball and we’re encouraging the PSL and PVL to turn pro because that could be how the IATF will allow it to restart with GAB as the regulatory agency.  Volleyball has submitted its proposal to restart to the DOH but I think if there is no government supervising authority, it may not be approved.”

Mitra said Juico has explained that turning pro will mean a dramatic change in the PSL’s structure and make-up. “The concerns are at least 40 percent of the PSL players aren’t full-time, students who play in a pro league may lose their scholarships, marketing expenses of the participating teams will be treated differently in the books and schools may not play in the PSL anymore,” he said. “But I recall the PBA allowed Northern Consolidated to play as a guest amateur team in 1985. Players receive salaries in the PSL and PVL and imports come to play for pay so technically, they’re pros. Unless the PSL and PVL are pro leagues, GAB can’t regulate them. PSC can’t also regulate them because they don’t fall under the national development program. So that leaves volleyball out in the cold. The players want to play but they can’t. Naiwanan tuloy ang volleyball at kawawa naman ang sport.”

Mitra said about three years ago, GAB initiated a move for the PVL to turn pro and it went to court. The PVL was issued a restraining order to counter GAB’s cease-and-desist motion. “At hindsight, that should never have happened,” he said. “GAB shouldn’t be combative but supportive. GAB is supposed to help sports. If there’s a way we can reconnect with the PVL, we hope to be of assistance so it can also restart. Turning pro doesn’t mean leagues will lose their independence. Look at the PBA and PFF. Chooks To Go will announce today its 3x3 league is turning pro and both the NBL and WNBL are also turning pro.” Mitra said the WNBL plans to restart training and play games in a bubble environment in Pampanga which is under MGCQ.

Mitra said since the MPBL is not a pro league, it isn’t able to finish the Lakan Cup which is only a few games short of ending. One game is left to decide the Northern and Southern Division finals. Then, once the Northern and Southern champions are determined, they will clash in a best-of-five series for the crown. That could be a maximum of seven contests to play. But the IATF is hesitant to allow sports to restart if not regulated by a government agency like GAB.

With the Joint Administrative Order signed by the IATF last Monday to restart training in pro basketball and pro football, Mitra said the way is clear for the PBA and PFF to move forward. “PFF plans to use three fields in a two-hectare property in Carmona but since Cavite is under GCQ like Metro Manila and Laguna, only five players can train at a time, not 10,” he said. “The PFF plans to quarter the players in Laguna and train in Carmona. Under MGCQ, 10 can train at a time but they can only do that in MGCQ areas like Batangas, Quezon and Pampanga.”