BY JEREMIAH SEVILLA
Basilan team owner Hegem Cabrera Furigay has demanded on Thursday night, a refund for their expenses in joining the resumption of the MPBL Lakan Cup under a bubble setup only to lose by default in the South Division Finals decider due to COVID-19 cases.
As decided by the MPBL, the Steel lost to the Davao Occidental Tigers in Game 3 of the South Division Finals by default last Tuesday after their re-swab yielded four positive results.
Basilan initially had two players testing positive from the novel coronavirus, resulting in their extended seven-day quarantine and a second round of swab test.
In an open letter posted on his Facebook account and addressed to MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, Furigay demanded for a reimbursement as his team was not allowed by the league to play.
“We invested heavily in our campaign to win it all, but this incident unjustly took that chance away from us, not even letting my people step on the court for one single time. So now we are demanding the costs of our campaign back,” said Furigay.
“We were led on, cheated and made fools of,” he added.
[ Furigay’s open letter: https://www.facebook.com/hegem.furigay/posts/10221461973191089 ]
Furigay bared that they spent a serious amount of money for testing and having the players and staff in the quarantine hotel, saying that they are housed in individual rooms.
Basilan is reportedly still on a quarantine and waiting for the result of another swab test before getting cleared to go to their respective homes.
Furigay also alleged that the MPBL forced them to participate in the bubble with a threat of stripping them of their franchise.
“When the MPBL approached us about joining the bubble, we were hesitant to join because of the logistics, manpower and the resources needed to successfully finish our campaign. But the MPBL management forced our hand with the threat of the forfeiture of our franchise.”
With the unfortunate event that befell the Steel, Furigay blasted MPBL founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao and asked the league to show them “good faith”.
“The unjust way that me and my people were treated reflects badly on the leadership skills of this organization’s founder, Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao who was supposed to be the champion of the people and our beloved country’s athletes,” he said.
“We entered this bubble in good faith. Show us good faith on our way out.”