A recent fiasco in local sports has prompted the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to probe an alleged fixing of games from April to July 2018.
Ian Sangalang, Magnolia Hotshots’ big man, was accused of being involved in this match-fixing, receiving a bribe from a Singaporean businessman named Koa Wei Quan. According to an article by the Straits Times, Quan is now being charged with 14 charges of graft at the State Courts in Singapore.
Match fixing is manipulating the outcome of a sporting event, usually for financial gain. This can involve one or more participants in the event, such as players, coaches, or referees, conspiring to influence the result pre-determinedly.
And this can be done through various means, such as intentionally playing poorly, making certain plays or calls that favor one team, or even deliberately causing injuries to players. It is considered illegal and unethical, as it undermines the integrity of the sport and deceives fans who expect fair competition.
The accused allegedly influenced games in the PBA and the Thailand Basketball League (TBL). His total bribe reached $70,000.
Sangalang was offered by Quan $5,000 to throw Game 5 of the 2018 Philippine Cup to the San Miguel Beermen. He was ordered to lose by at least nine points.
In that game, the Beermen did win in double overtime, 108-99, with the Hotshots losing exactly by nine points. Furthermore, Sangalang, who recorded a game-high eight turnovers, was a big factor in their loss.
So was this coincidence?
Sangalang denied his involvement with Quan, stressing that he “never knew that man.”
“I’ll never trade my career and dignity for that kind of thing,” added the two-time Second Mythical Team member.
Furthermore, he will take legal action to clear his name, as stated by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial on Monday, April 24.
But with the PBA included in this fixing of games, the recently-concluded PBA Governors’ Cup was flooded by accusations that the severe food poisoning of Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings’ Justin Brownlee in Game 5 was an attempt to rig the match.
In an article written by Fastbreak, netizens suspect that the TNT Tropang Giga was able to take Game 5 because of Brownlee’s exit. Many were bewildered that he contracted such an ailment, especially since they usually only take beverages to replenish themselves.
Brownlee’s absence cost them the game and, eventually, the championship.
Other Players Involved?
Former PBA player Leonidez Zapata Avenido and one Sergei Bien Orillo were also mentioned by Quan. He claimed that the pair were his contacts in fixing the Hotshots versus Beermen game.
Avenido and Orillo were also alleged to have worked for Quan to bribe unknown players from Blackwater Elite, giving them P525,000. It is for them to either win or lose by just four points against the Columbian Dyip during the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
He again employed the pair to bribe the same Blackwater players with P1.5 million for a win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters. The margin, however, was unspecified.
Meanwhile, the report by The Straits Times will be investigated by the PBA, especially with the name of the organization being stained by the accusation that their teams and players are fixing games.
“We will investigate. Titingnan muna natin kasi isasampa pa lang ang kaso sa Singapore,” said Marcial to the Manila Times.