AFTER an extended break in support of Gilas Pilipinas, the PBA is preparing to roll out a new season featuring the return of activities it was forced to do away with the past three years due to pandemic.

“First time after COVID-19 (outbreak in 2020) that we have an big opening (ceremonies) on Nov. 5,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said in The Game on One Sports.

The elaborate opening rites being prepared by broadcast partner TV5, the first since March 8, 2020, will likely be highlighted by the presentation of the PBA-backed Gilas crew that won the country’s first Asian Games gold in 61 years.

As a sneak preview of the upcoming out-of-town sorties, Mr. Marcial said official games would be staged in Cagayan de Oro, San Jose, Batangas, and Camarines Sur, among others.

The pro league has shortened its Season 48 to two conferences to give way to the FIBA World Cup hosting in August and the triumphant stint of Gilas in the recent Asiad in Hangzhou, China.

From Oct. 15, the PBA moved the new season’s tip-off to Nov. 5. This put the league out of action for nearly 200 days since wrapping up Season 47 last April 22.

“The PBA has sacrificed for the national team all the way to the Asian Games and this directly affected our revenues,” said PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas. “So I’d like to thank each and every (team) governor and team owners. By bringing back the Asian Games gold I hope they will feel good about it also.” — Olmin Leyba