PBA seeks palace support

Philstar

April 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The PBA is turning to Malacañang to try to save a two-conference season that can’t seem to get off the ground amid the raging pandemic.

Commissioner Willie Marcial and Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua will make their pitch before Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Sen. Bong Go in Malacañang today to possibly get them on board on the league’s 2021 plans.

“We’ll present to them our plans, including vaccination and protocols, all the scenarios. We’ll discuss everything necessary so we can start our league,” Marcial said during yesterday’s online PSA Forum.

The PBA executive said they will make a case for the PBA by showing it can safely mount a tournament under the “new normal.”

“We staged a successful bubble in Clark and there weren’t any problems (in maintaining a virus-free environment). In fact, the FIBA is using our template for its Asian Qualifiers. We hope we’ll be rewarded for that,” said Marcial.

“Likewise, fans are already clamoring for the games. Our office and the coaches and players themselves have been receiving inquiries from fans about when we’ll start. We hope to convince them (Malacañang) to allow us so we can make the fans happy during these trying times,” he added.

The PBA is eyeing a late-May or a mid-June tipoff for Season 46 after the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and suspension of cluster training rendered the original April opening impossible.

Under the plan, the Philippine Cup will be played first over a single round-robin format followed by a longer, double round-robin Governors Cup. Prospective venues are Antipolo and Ilocos Norte.

The league preferred a closed-circuit setup but Marcial said they’re not discounting the expensive and challenging full bubble scheme as a “last option.”

He reiterated that vaccines are a key component to the PBA’s programs.

“We will vaccinate everyone in the PBA family,” said Marcial, who added they have already made their orders with the Red Cross with additional doses to be donated by PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan or the SMC Group.

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