By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
WHEN the new season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will start remains uncertain, but the league said the plan is still to have it going as soon as possible.
Currently, the PBA is in the process of revisiting its tack for its Season 46 after initial plans were scuttled by the pandemic, particularly the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
It has been studying various options and discussing them thoroughly with stakeholders, and in coordination with pertinent government agencies so as these are in line with proper health and safety protocols.
League executives met Malacañang officials on Wednesday to discuss the PBA’s “recalibrated” plans for its new season, including ways on how to avail vaccines for the PBA family.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial was set to hold a press briefing later on Thursday to share what transpired during the meeting, but earlier reports have it that the Palace was forwarding the league’s proposal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to decide on.
The reports also said approval hinges largely on how the situation with the coronavirus cases in the country pans out moving forward.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health reported 6,895 new cases, the lowest in the last three weeks.
“Hopefully, they allow us to start,” said Mr. Marcial early this week.
The PBA was supposed to kick off its Season 46 on April 18, but was forced to defer it because of the spike in coronavirus cases in the country and the consequent elevated quarantine restrictions placed over the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.
The league was eyeing the Ynares Center in Antipolo City in Rizal as a tournament venue, forcing it to abandon the planned start for the meantime because of the restrictions.
It is hoping that it gets to start by late May or in June so as it can still squeeze in its planned two-conference season, which it said is designed to give fans more basketball action amid the pandemic.
PBA officials said they are aiming for more basketball activities for its new season to give fans more action during this time of the pandemic.
Apart from the usual five-a-side offering, the league will also stage a 3×3 tournament for its new season.
The PBA successfully salvaged its pandemic-hit Season 45 in 2020 by holding a tournament “bubble” in Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, where all the participants were holed up in the area for the duration of the Philippine Cup. It reportedly cost the league P65 million to stage.