THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is getting better and bigger amidst lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
With five new leagues and organizations have turned professional in the spanned of five months, the government regulatory body for professional sports turned out to become the busiest agency while the country is battling the virus.
“The Professional Sports Summit exceeded our expectations. During the start of the year when the pandemic started, the future of sports was very dark and with no hope in sight. Who would have known at the end of the year and even in the midst of the pandemic, that the GAB family would grow into having to welcome and embrace more members of its pro sports family,” said GAB Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra in his report during the second (virtual) Professional Sports Summit last December 5 via Google.
“This year has been more than fruitful for the agency and we have been able to achieve so much with the help of our stakeholders, media friends, government agencies who helped us push for sports resumption to continue to provide livelihood to the ProSports industry and the Filipino fans, with or without the pandemic, who continue to provide their love and support to the industry,” added the former Palawan Governor and Congressman.
Mitra was joined by GAB Commissioners Atty. Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid in the virtual meeting with no less than World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman and WBC Cares International Chairperson Jill Diamond as special guests.
Former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Best Import-turned-school dean Sean Chambers, and sports psychologist and John F. Kennedy University alumna Dr. Sheryll Casuga also graced the Summit, hosted by veteran sports caster and columnist Bill Velasco, as resource speakers.
Also present in the day-long event with a theme “Innovative Leadership in Crisis,” are the country’s sports legend like billiard ‘Gotfather’ Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes and Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, two-division world champion Gerry Penalosa and Asia’s first chess Grandmaster Eugene Torre.
For the second time, Senators Sonny Angara and Bong Go participated in the summit, and took the opportunity to highlight the success of the Filipino athletes and promised an unconditional support to upgrade their level of competitiveness in the international arena. Senator Joel Villanueva, another sports advocate, later joined the program.
During the program, GAB proudly announced that the Beach Volleyball Republic and the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) are already committed to turn professional next year.
As sports activities returned duo to GAB relentless work with stakeholders, the Chook-to-Go 3×3 league, National Basketball League (NBL), Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), Professional Chess Association in the Philippines (PCAP) and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) turned professional one after the other.
Mitra expressed his gratitude to all the participants as well as the entire professional sports community for their cooperation during the toughest time to date with the pandemic.