IT took a while for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to return from the coronavirus pandemic break it was forced into but now that it is back, the league is equally thankful and relieved even as it is happy to share that everything has been up and running well up to this point.

Graced anew the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said to have the league back in action is gratifying, more so since the path to it was not easy.

“Yes, it is a big relief to have the PBA back. I felt goosebumps when we restarted on Sunday. It’s a special feeling. For a while there, we thought it was already a lost season, but we did not lose hope and to see the league back is a great feeling,” said Mr. Marcial.

“It was not easy building the bubble, but we’re now here. And we’re hoping and praying that the bubble will be a successful one. I hope everybody will stay healthy. We’re taking it a step at a time,” he added.

The PBA resumed its Season 45 with the Philippine Cup on Oct. 11 after being forced to suspend it back in March because of the pandemic.

The tournament is being held under a bubble setup at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga.

Under the PBA bubble, which is similar to that employed in the National Basketball Association, players, coaches, and staff of the teams and the league are holed up in Clark for the duration of the tournament and shuttled to and from the hotel and the playing venue.

Games are being played at the Angeles University Foundation gym with the Quest Plus Hotel inside Mimosa serving as the official home of all the participants.

To guard against the spread of the coronavirus, the league has scheduled regular swab testing of all participants and set up protocols which it vowed to strictly enforce.

Since resuming its season on Sunday, Mr. Marcial said everything is doing well.

“So far, so good. There have been no major concerns yet. Everything that was in the plan is being followed,” the PBA chief said.

“The players are upbeat, despite the sacrifice they have to make being away from their families and all. And they know it’s not only for us, but also for the fans and the Filipinos,” he added.

Now up and running again, Mr. Marcial vowed that they in the PBA would try to continue to work and see their return have a successful conclusion.

“This is for the fans. That’s our motivation in this restart, that is to be able to give fun and entertainment to them after a long while,” he said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo