PBA Board to decide fate of pandemic-delayed Governors' Cup next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 18)— The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to hold a board meeting next week to decide the fate of its season-ending Governors’ Cup.

In a media forum on Tuesday, Commissioner Willie Marcial said the crucial discussion among the league’s Board of Governors will determine whether or not they will push through with the import-laced conference — which was put to a halt last Jan. 3.

Made-desisyunan na ‘yan next week kasi nagpatawag na kami ni Chairman Ricky Vargas ng board meeting. By next week malalaman na kung itutuloy ba natin o hindi. Ano ba balak, iintayin ba natin bumaba ang cases?” Marcial said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.

[Translation: That will be decided next week because (PBA) Chairman Ricky Vargas has called for a board meeting. We will know next week if it will push through or not. What is the plan? Are we going to wait for the (COVID) cases to go down?]

Kasi nahihiya din ako sa team owners. Sinabi ko sa governors, alam ko naman na dire-diretso yung sweldo ng players pati mga imports na dollars ang ibinabayad. Doon ako nahihiya pero sana naintindihan nila. Wala namang nag-text o nag reklamo na ‘papaano na ito comm?’ so nagpapasalamat din ako na nandiyan pa rin sila,” he added.

[Translation: I also feel bad for the team owners. I told the governors that I am aware the players continue to receive their salary; the imports are paid in dollars. That’s what I’m uneasy about but I hope they understand (the situation). No one has complained ‘How do we go about this?’ So I am thankful that they are still there.]

Under Alert Level 3, professional sports leagues may only stage live games under a full bubble setup but Marcial is hopeful they can continue their tournament under a home-venue-home scheme, especially after recently getting the nod of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), which has endorsed the league’s plans before the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Malaking bagay satin ‘yun, from there, titignan natin kung anong gagawin, may kakausapin tayo, magco-consult na rin tayo sa iba,” he added.

[Translation: It means a lot, from there, we will look at what should be done, we will talk to somebody, and we will consult other stakeholders.]

The same “closed-circuit” format was implemented by the league during the early part of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

According to Marcial, the league has also learned to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic with this being their third indefinite postponement.

He added they will be studying all options including the possibility of mounting a bubble outside of Metro Manila, as well as implementing stricter safety protocols.

Malamang pag-uusapan ‘yan (bubble) next week pero ang sinasabi ko nga, kapag nag-bubble ba tayo sa labas sigurado ba tayong hindi tatamaan (ng COVID)? ‘Yun ang isang pinangangamba namin,” Marcial explained.

Kung papalarin tayo magsimula, sigurado magdadagdag tayo ng protocols, pagsasabihan mga players, pati mga penalties and fines baka may itataas tayo,” he added.

[Translation: It seems that (bubble) will be discussed next week but as I have said, once we hold games under a bubble, does that give us an assurance that we will not get infected? That is what we are worrying about. If we will be allowed to hold the games, we will add protocols. We will remind our players. Even penalties and fines for violations might be increased.]

For now, team practices are still limited to only seven individuals, including four players, one coach, a safety officer, and one utility staff member per session. They are also prohibited from holding scrimmages until further notice.