By JEREMIAH SEVILLA
Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes broke his silence and answered back Basilan-Jumbo Plastic’s allegations against the league and demand for a refund through social media.
Two days after the Chooks to Go-backed league crowned Davao Occidental-Cocolife as its Lakan Cup champion following its 3-1 victory over San Juan-Go For Gold in the National Finals held under a bubble setup in Subic, Duremdes on Tuesday addressed the issues raised by the Steel.
Basilan cried foul over MPBL’s decision to forfeit its South Division Finals decider against Davao Occidental-Cocolife after four of its players tested positive for COVID-19, but Duremdes stressed the health and safety inside the bubble.
“I thank God because no one tested positive inside the bubble,” said Duremdes. Based on the (DOH) guideline, if one person tests positive inside the bubble, they will cancel the event… You have to be considering the health risks and factors of each individual. That’s why I’m thankful because we ended the season which was postponed for almost a year.”
Duremdes said the Steel were supposed to be sent home already after two of them initially tested positive as they travelled to the quarantine hotel, the Subic Bay Peninsular, in one vehicle. But the team, he claimed, appealed for a re-swab which was done after an extended quarantine.
The 47-year-old chief also said that the MPBL and the SBMA were willing to wait longer even if their conditional permit from DOH would lapse on March 21.
However, Duremdes bared that they saw footages from Subic Bay Peninsular showing the Steel breaking protocol during their extended quarantine.
Duremdes even doubted if Basilan was able to follow the pre-bubble protocols set by DOH which was for the players to undergo RT-PCR testing.
Duremdes also addressed team owner Hegen Furigay’s demand for a refund.
“The legal said that we help them but not in full. The salaries will come from Hegem and the operational expenses from Jumbo Plastic, as per (team manager) Jax (Chua).”
Duremdes added that Basilan’s way of expressing its disappointment through social media and questioning the leadership of league founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao was “uncalled for” and should’ve been directed to his office.