STA. ROSA, Laguna – Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said that its main sponsor for this season, OKBet, is addressing the issues that surrounded their newfound partnership.

In an interview Monday night during the MPBL's doubleheader at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex here, Duremdes said that OKBet, a sports betting platform, acted fast after the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) called their attention regarding the partnership.

"It's for OKBet to do that, not on our side. Ang OKBet dapat ang mag-apply nyan sa Ad Standards Council. Na-address naman 'yan ng OKBet, and they will do that for us para masagot natin 'yan, although nag-reply na tayo kay (OKBet should be the one applying to the Ad Standards Council. OKBet already addressed it, and they will do that for us to address the issue, although we already replied to) Chairman Baham [Mitra]," Duremdes said.

Last week, GAB chairman Baham Mitra revealed over the Sports On Air Weekly podcast that his agency reached out to the MPBL through a letter to explain the partnership.

"We want to find out what is the authority and legal basis of the MPBL to allow this betting website to advertise on the league premises and in their posts," Mitra said.

Duremdes said GAB wanted OKBet to secure a clearance from the Ad Standards Council (ASC).

"Ang sinasabi lang nila, mag-secure lang [ng clearance] sa ASC ang OKBet (What they were saying is that OKBet should secure a clearance from the ASC to continue the partnership)," Duremdes said.

In the same podcast, Mitra said that the partnership did not sit well with his agency because it caught them by surprise and thought it could further entice game-fixing since the MPBL is now directly working with a sports betting firm. Thus, GAB handed the memo to the MPBL.

Duremdes and OKBet chief legal and compliance officer Victoria Gilera assured during a press conference on June 12 that they will join forces in battling game-fixing within the league's midst.

He added that the MPBL and GAB remain on good terms despite the concerns raised following the league's partnership with OKBet.

"That's one of the reasons na nandyan ang GAB (GAB is there): to guide the pro leagues sa Pilipinas, hindi lang basketball. It will be for the betterment of Philippine sports pag nandyan lagi ang GAB (if GAB is always there)," he said.

During the scheduled doubleheader, Zamboanga moved up to 4-0 in the team standings after whipping Marikina, 91-76, while Imus clobbered Makati, 72-44. (PNA)