Willie Marcial
STAR/File
PBA opener, para games off
Olmin Leyba, Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2020 - 12:00am

Novel coronavirus precaution

MANILA, Philippines — Not even the opening of the 45th season of the country’s premier basketball league was spared by the deadly virus.

Putting premium on safety amid the 2019 novel coronavirus threat, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) decided to reschedule the kickoff of its new season as well as the opening of the PBA D-League.

Commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday anounced that the league has decided to push the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup opener to March 8 from its original schedule of March 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Marcial said the opener’s original slate remains the same. The Leo Awards, highlighted by the coronation of the 2019 MVP, will usher in hostilities in the All-Filipino tournament, with the San Miguel Beermen commencing their six-peat bid against their challenger the past two seasons, Magnolia Hotshots, in the lone game.

The D-League, which was supposed to start Feb. 13 at the Paco Arena, will instead begin on March 2 at the same venue.

The 10th ASEAN Para Games was officially called off yesterday, also due to the coronavirus menace.

Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo personally received the recommendation from the ASEAN Federation in Thailand calling off the biennial event as an offshoot of the deadly outbreak.

The decision came several days after the Philippine Sports Commission, which will bankroll the Games, recommended the postponement as part of the measures being applied by the government to prevent the pneumonia-like virus from spreading.

It remains uncertain if the multi-sports events for differently abled athletes, which was previously rescheduled from January to March due to budgetary constraints, will ever push through.

“Possibly in May or September, as recommended by the ASEAN Federation,” said PPC vice president Tom Carrasco.

The event was to take place at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, Clark in Pampanga and Subic, in some of the venues that were used for the 30th SEA Games last December.

A small portion of the SEA Games Athletes Village in Capas is now being used as quarantine site for the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that arrived from Wuhan the other day.

According to Marcial, the rescheduling was the PBA’s way of supporting the precautionary measures being implemented by the government against the virus.

“It’s a preventive measure against nCoV. It’s now in place and will be implemented. The safety of our fans, teams, players, and officials remain our utmost priority,” Marcial said.

The Asia Oceania Olympic boxing qualifier for the Tokyo Oympics in July was rescheduled from this month in Wuhan, China to next month in Amman, Jordan. The Philippine team is among the countries vying for slots to the Olympics.

A few days back, the PSC scrapped the national sports summit scheduled later this month as well as the Philippine National Games in May and its children’s games nationwide. The NCAA has also cancelled all its junior events.

Taekwondo’s Olympic qualifier in Wuxi, China in April will be transferred to another country while other international meets called off include the women’s football’s Olympic qualifier in Nanjing, women’s basketball Olympic qualifier in Foshan, the Asian Indoor Athletics Championship in Hangzhou and cycling’s Tour of Hainan.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION WILLIE MARCIAL
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