CEBU CITY—Protect the integrity of the league.
This was the advice of Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham Mitra to the prime movers of the upcoming VisMin Super Cup, the country’s newest professional basketball league.
In a virtual press briefing Monday, Mitra said the league should bring in game officials who are not only well-trained and credentialed but also with impeccable integrity.
“The referee should have no records. The integrity of the league is very important,” Mitra said.
Aside from having no derogatory records, referees must also be physically fit, Mitra said.
“The officials should be very fit. Bawal ang referees na malaki ang tiyan (Referees with bulging tummies are prohibited),” Mitra said.
Mitra warned that GAB will use an iron first against referees who will be caught engaging in irregularities.
“We will enforce a one-strike policy. Of course, we will give due process but if found guilty, we will not hesitate to revoke the licenses,” Mitra said.
Rey Cañete, the league’s technical head, assured that the league will be parading referees with unquestionable characters.
“We will have international referees and we are holding some activities in preparation for the opening of the league,” said Cañete.
The league, which will follow a “bubble” setup, will open on April.
League secretary-general Marvin Caro revealed that the inaugural season of the league will now be held outside Cebu City.
“Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Cebu City, we are moving the tournament to Cebu province. There is a municipality in Cebu province with zero COVID-19 cases. We already coordinated with the mayor and we are scheduled to check the venue,” said Caro.
Mitra urged organizers to ensure that all safety protocols will be followed.
As part of the safety measures against the spread of COVID-19, all players will undergo swab testing days before the opening of the league.
Another test will be conducted a day before the players enter the bubble.
Mitra also reminded the organizers to have the participating teams apply for a permit with GAB for their practices.
“They should also coordinate with the concerned local government units if they are going to hold their practices,” said Mitra.
“I advised Rocky (Chan) to give the teams enough time to practice. The practices should not be done a week before the opening to protect the players from injuries,” said Mitra.
Chan is the league chief operating officer.
Mitra said GAB will be facilitating a mobile licensing as well as the code of conduct seminar for officials.
“We are already finalizing the safety protocols. Some teams are already asking clearances from the LGUs so they can start practicing,” Mitra said.
The VisMin Cup will have the Visayas and Mindanao divisions with each bracket composed of six squads.
Mitra commended the league for complying with the safety regulations.
“We welcome the creation of this league. We would like to commend VisMin Super Cup for following the protocols. It entails a lot of money, time and effort and we are thankful that they are following the protocols,” said Mitra.