THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, congratulated the National Basketball League (NBL) for its decision to turn professional.
Mitra said the biggest winners in the decision of the NBL to turn pro are the players themselves.
“I congratulate the NBL and its women’s affiliate WNBL for their decision to turn pro and give importance to the welfare of its members. Under GAB, they are in good hands,” said Mitra in a statement to the media recently.
Mitra said GAB, as the government agency tasked to supervise and regulate professional sports, is mandated to protect the welfare of pro athletes.
“I’m very happy that the NBL is turning pro, giving more basketball players, especially homegrown talents, the opportunity to play professionally,” said Mitra, who was appointed by President Duterte as GAB head in 2016.
“It is also very encouraging to know that the NBL is holding a women’s league, providing talented female players a platform to showcase their skills,” added Mitra, a three-time lawmaker from Palawan.
Mitra said he has directed the GAB legal and medical divisions, as well as the pro sports division, to sit down with NBL officials and discuss the safety and health protocols approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
NBL officials will also be briefed on the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) prepared by GAB, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Department of Health.
NBL Chairman Celso Mercado and NBL commissioner and WNBL vice president for basketball operations Edward Aquino both thanked Mitra and GAB for acting favorably on their application to turn pro.
“Thank you GAB. As the country’s first homegrown basketball leagues, the NBL and WNBL are committed to discover and train homegrown talents nationwide,” said Mercado during a Zoom meeting last Thursday
NBL executive vice president Rhose Montreal said she is happy the NBL is now a pro league.
“I’m happy that NBL players will now be able to achieve their dream of playing professional basketball,” said Montreal.
The NBL was established in 2018 with a home-and-away format with homegrown players representing their provinces, municipalities and cities.
The Parañaque Aces and Taguig Generals were the past two season champions.
A total of 14 teams – Parañaque Aces, Taguig Generals, Pampanga Delta, Camsur Express, La Union Power, Zamboanga Valientes, Muntinlupa Emeralds, Cavite Ballers, Pasig El Pirata, Quezon City Defenders, Laguna Pistons, Nueva Ecija Besprens, Caloocan Executives, and Marikina Best Shoemakers — were included in the coming third season.
Only recently, Mitra and GAB joined Sen. Bong Go and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials in distributing cash and relief assistance to local professional boxers in General Santos City.