Willie Marcial
Jun Mendoza/File
Marcial salutes PBA family
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PBA commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday paid tribute to the pro league’s team owners, board of governors, coaches, players and staff for their efforts in coming to the aid of those in need during this difficult coronavirus crisis.

“Saludo tayo sa ating mga team owners, governors, coaches, players at staff sa kanilang efforts to give relief, food, shelter, necessary services and essential commodities to those in need and in the frontlines,” said Marcial. “Our players are keeping safe and doing home drills to stay in shape, halos lahat gumagawa ng paraan upang makatulong sa mga nangangailangan.”

President Duterte recently expressed his gratitude to captains of industry and big businessmen for joining hands with the government in alleviating the plight of the less fortunate in this trying time.  The Chief Executive mentioned PBA team owners Manny V. Pangilinan, Ramon S. Ang and Dennis Uy among the business leaders.

Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso and players Kiefer Ravena, Harvey Carey, Nico Salva, CJ Perez, Cliff Hodge, Chris Ross, Jio Jalalon, Calvin Abueva, Paul Desiderio, Ryan Arana, LA Tenorio, June Mar Fajardo, Diego Dario and Beau Belga, among many others, have contributed to help out daily wage-earners, frontliners, first responders and service providers.

Marcial said the pro league is closely monitoring the crisis situation and abiding by the guidelines of the national government. “Players and fans are excited to get the season going but at this time, our priority is the safety and welfare of everyone,” he said.

“We will submit options to the board for approval,” he said. “As soon as the government declares it’s back to normal, we’ll probably give the teams one month to get ready before we resume the conference.  It will be enough time to train and prepare. We don’t want to expose our players to unnecessary injury by rushing them back to play.”

Marcial said there will be critical decisions to make when the season reopens. Depending on how much time is left in the year, the schedule of three conferences will be re-evaluated.  Another issue is the eligibility of players for the next PBA draft with one D-League conference likely to be cancelled.  Marcial said a video teleconference meeting of the Board may be called this week.

“Ang inyong PBA ay kaagapay ng sambayanang Pilipino sa laban kontra sa coronavirus,” said Marcial in a message to fans.  “Sundin natin lahat ng protocol ng Department of Health at ng ating gobyerno.  Higit sa lahat, ipagpatuloy natin ang dasal sa Panginoon na makaraos tayo sa ganitong krisis.”

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