PH Sports Image tarnished by ‘game-fixing’ – Mikee Romero

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Former amateur basketball ‘godfather’ and Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero said the players, coaches and officials involved in the controversial VisMin Super Cup match between the Lapu-Lapu City and Siquijor should suffer the severest possible penalty under the law once proven guilty of game fixing.

Romero, who represents 1Pacman Partylist in the House of Representative, said these players showed utter disrespect to the sport closest to the heart of Filipinos so they deserve to be fined and banned from competing in any league at all.

“For showing disgraceful acts the players, staff, officials and the persons behind these shenanigans must be severely punished,” Romero who is vigorously batting for the passage of a measure imposing penalties on game fixing.

“They have no place in Philippine Sports, basketball in particular,” said Romero who was also aghast with what he saw in the game where both teams, especially the Siquijor Mystics, committed dubious missed free throws.

In video clips that circulated in social media after that horrific game last Wednesday in Alcantara, Cebu, one player even failed to convert an open layup.

Romero is also calling on all law enforcement agencies to step up their investigation on the matter since what transpired in the VisMin Cup is “tarnishing the image of Philippine sports.”

While Romero admits that it will take time before one could be proven guilty of such horrible act, the House members, he said, had already approved on third and final reading the measure on game fixing with a vote of 211-0.

House Bill 8870, which Romero authored, seeks to protect the integrity of any sports because of the proliferation of enterprising individuals who want to make money through manipulation of results of matches. The bill, according to Romero, covers pro and amateur sports.

Convicted game fixers, according to Romero, will suffer three to six years of imprisonment and be fined from P1million to P5 million.

The league had already expelled the Siquijor Mystics while several players and officials of the Lapu-Lapu Heroes were fined and suspended.