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PBA finding ways to engage fans amid COVID-19

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The online show PBA Kamustahan is one way the league is engaging its fans amid COVID-19. -- SCREEN CAPTURE FROM PBA FACEBOOK PAGE

LIVE staging of games rendered impossible right now with mitigating protocols because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic up, the Philippine Basketball Association is finding ways to continue to engage fans.

On Sunday, Asia’s first play-for-pay league launched its online show, PBA Kamustahan, geared towards touching base with the league’s fandom which has to bear for two months now not seeing their hardcourt heroes in action.

First episode of the Kamustahan had PBA big men Marc Pingris (Magnolia), Poy Erram (TNT), June Mar Fajardo (San Miguel), Beau Belga (Rain or Shine) and Asi Taulava (NLEX) as featured guests. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial also came on board during the broadcast which was moderated by league barker and radio broadcaster Noel Zarate.

From the comforts of their homes, the guests shared their various experiences while dealing with the enhanced community quarantine, thoughts on the league’s return and their stints with Gilas Pilipinas, among others.

As expected all the players said they miss playing in front of the fans but recognize that safety of all league stakeholders is primary at this point.

For now, they are enjoying their time with their families while also doing training on their own to keep in shape and stay sharp.

They said they are hoping that they get to return to action at the soonest possible time just as they noted that the return to some form of normalcy would take time.

“The guys will be excited to be back with their teammates for sure. But definitely we would not be able to get back to what we used to do. It would take time to normalize,” said Mr. Taulava.

He was seconded by Mr. Belga, saying, “Thing will gradually go back to normal. Basketball will always be there and am sure the fans would love to get it back.”

League officials said it remains to be seen if the season would continue this year as COVID-19 remains a growing concern but they are hopeful that by August they will have a definite decision on the fate of PBA Season 45.

Mr. Marcial said the first episode of Kamustahan was only the start and that they intend to get more players participating in the online show to give fans something to turn to during these uncertain times.

The PBA in March decided to suspend its ongoing season after the government declared a state of public health emergency and put the entire Luzon on ECQ as a means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo





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