Looking to have a 46th Season held this year, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial and Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua will have a dialogue with two top government officials on Wednesday to hopefully convince the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to give the PBA the go-signal to proceed.
The worsening health situation in the country has made the PBA move an original April 9 opening to an indefinite date, and if it cannot open in early June at the latest, as what Marcial said in past interviews, then the league will have no choice but to play just one conference again later in the year.
Marcial and Chua will meet with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Sen. Christopher Go, a basketball fan, as they try get a firm idea on whether that June opening would be possible or not.
“After we talk to them, I think in one or two days we will have an idea on what direction we will take,” Marcial said in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “We will show them that we held the bubble (in Angeles) and that we didn’t have any problems there.”
The league played all but one game of the Philippine Cup from October to December last year and will try to convince the IATF that it can be done again—although Marcial maintains that it is an option of last resort for the league because of the staggering cost and the mental anxiety it gives players and staff inside the bubble.
The PBA remains firm in its approach to have all players, coaches, and staff vaccinated before starting its season.
Marcial said that Ilocos Norte and Antipolo are among those being considered to be the bubble venue, along with another local government, which he refused to name at the moment.
If finally allowed to play by the IATF, the league is bound to implement even stricter protocols compared to the one it had last year.
“We will surely implement stricter health protocols, especially if we don’t have a vaccine yet,” said Marcial, who is also hoping that the vaccines ordered by the league in its tie-up with Philippine Red Cross will arrive in either May or June in time for the season opener.
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