FOUND to have violated government quarantine rules, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) fined veteran Japeth Aguilar and rookie Adrian Wong P20,000 each and told them to take a swab test.

The two players were summoned by the league office on Monday over a viral video that showed them engaging in a 5-on-5 scrimmage along with others in a popular basketball facility in San Juan City, clearly breaking general community quarantine rules, particularly that prohibiting the conduct of team sports, currently in effect in the metro because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The PBA, through Commissioner Willie Marcial, first heard the side of Messrs. Aguilar and Wong, who play for Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine, respectively, on the incident before handing down the penalty, which also includes the players needing to go undergo a 14-day quarantine before taking another swab test as a confirmatory procedure and serving 30 hours of community service.

Mr. Marcial said Messrs. Aguilar and Wong were apologetic for what they had done and promised to exercise better judgment in the future.  

A third player, Isaac Go, selected first by Columbia Dyip in a special draft for Gilas Pilipinas last year, was spared any penalties since he is on loan to the national team. But Mr. Marcial still advised him to be mindful of his actions so as to avoid similar instances from happening again.

Monday’s meeting was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro and PBA legal consultant Atty. Melvin Mendoza.

Apart from league officials, Messrs. Aguilar and Wong also met Games and Amusement Board officials composed of Commissioner Eduardo Trinidad, Pro basketball and Other Pro Games Division Chief Dioscoro Bautista and GAB official Rodil Manaog.

The PBA, shut since March 11 because of COVID-19, recently got a break in its push to resume its season after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the lead body in the country’s fight against COVID-19, gave its nod to the league’s request for a resumption of team practices albeit under strict health and safety protocols. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo