COVID forcing PBA season cut?
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Vargas calls online gab

MANILA, Philippines — With things still uncertain due to the COVID-19 crisis, the PBA is bracing for a sharply adjusted 2020 with a two-conference season under consideration and the cancellation of the D-League Aspirants’ Cup and other activities a possibility.

As the league entered the fourth week of play suspension, the PBA board of governors and the league commissioner are holding an online conference to thoroughly assess the situation and plot their next move.

“Ang nakikita kong pinaka-maagang balik ng PBA ay June,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

“Kasi even if the country is able to flatten the COVID-19 curve in April or May, I have to give our teams a month of practices before we resume play,” he added.

Marcial said the video conference called by chairman Ricky Vargas will be done either Monday or Tuesday.

“Hindi natin alam kung gaano katagal tatagal ito. Sana matapos na, at mawala na ang health threat. Pero hindi pa rin tayo makakabalik agad-agad,” Marcial said.

The PBA ordered a halt to the just-inaugurated 45th season last March 11, a few days before President Duterte put Metro Manila, and later Luzon under community quarantine. Mass gatherings have been banned along the way and the PBA itself barred teams from holding practices.

The prolonged stoppage has prompted suggestions to reduce the regular three-conference hostilities.

“May nagsasabi na two-conference na lang, kung hahaba pa ito, so hindi pa natin alam. May nagsasabi gawin natin All-Filipino at isang may import kasi mahalaga daw ang All-Filipino,” said Marcial in an interview on Radyo 5’s Power and Play program.

“Hinihintay lang natin kung ano’ng talagang mangyayari and ano’ng sasabihin ng gobyerno bago kami mag-desisyon,” he added.

As for the D-League, the opening Aspirants Cup may be shelved altogether considering most of the participants are school-based teams committed to their respective collegiate leagues.

La Salle, UP, UST, CEU, FEU, Diliman College, AMA Online Education, Mapua and DLSU Dasmariñas are featured in the Aspirants’ Cup.

If ever, this may pose questions on how it will affect prospects for the next PBA Rookie Draft in as much as applicants are required to have D-League stint to be eligible for the freshman drafting.

Meanwhile, Marcial gave props to players, coaches, team managers, governors and team owners for their charity works during the hiatus.

“Tuwang-tuwa tayo at nagpapasalamat kasi tumutulong sila,” said the league honcho of the ballers and officials who are handing out food to the frontliners and the needy and helping procure masks and PPEs for medical workers in donation drives.

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