AMONG the headliners in last year’s season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) because of their stellar plays as rookies, CJ Perez and Robert Bolick lament that they are being made to wait to build on what they had started with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still a going concern.

Graced Tiebreaker’s The Prospects Pod episode last week, the now-PBA sophomores shared that just like everybody else they are dealing with the current situation as best as they can and that they are hopeful that the league could still return to action this year amid all the things happening in relation to COVID-19.

The PBA suspended its Season 45 on March 11 as COVID-19 started taking further root in the country and the government came out with mitigating measures to help stop the spread of the disease, including prohibiting mass gatherings like sporting events.

The suspension came immediately after the season opened on March 8 with the All-Filipino Cup and only one game played, that between defending champions San Miguel Beermen and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, which the former won, 94-78.

Mr. Perez, who was named rookie of the year for Season 44, said at this point all everybody could do is wait for the situation to stabilize.

Not only as a player, but speaking as a basketball fan as well, 26-year-old Perez said he really misses the entertainment that basketball brings.

“We just have to wait. Let’s pray that the PBA could return as soon as possible so we can be entertained once again,” said Mr. Perez in the vernacular.

“I can’t wait to get back to the floor and put out the game that the fans want to see,” he added.

Incidentally, when the PBA resumes, Mr. Perez will be donning a “new” uniform as he will be playing under the Terra Firma Development Corporation team.

This, after the PBA Board recently approved the transfer of the Columbian Dyip franchise from Columbian Autocar Corporation to sister company Terra Firma.

Team governor Bobby Formales said despite the transfer of franchise, the team is inclined to retain its “Dyip” moniker.

For Mr. Bolick of Northport Batang Pier, the season’s return is also something he is looking forward to and enjoined the fans to continue to support the league when it returns.

“Let’s continue supporting all the teams in the PBA. We might have to wait for some time still as the [COVID-19] cases continue to rise but hopefully all of these would end soon and we can heal as one and return,” said Mr. Bolick, 24.

Former San Beda star Bolick is currently convalescing from an ACL injury he suffered last year that cut his rookie campaign short.

The PBA has submitted its request for a possible return to action to the government, particularly the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), along with the health and safety protocols it plans to take.

The request, as of this writing, is still being evaluated by the IATF. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo