No skipping battle for crown jewel

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2020 - 12:00am

Coaches OK on reduced Season 45

MANILA, Philippines — However short the PBA’s Season 45 hostilities will turn out, the league’s crown jewel – the Philippine Cup – will surely be in its abbreviated slate.

Putting premium on safety and health in a year badly-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PBA board of governors has decided to hold a shortened offering of one conference at worst or two conferences at best.

“Hindi pa napag-uusapan pero malamang All-Filipino. Hindi rin naman agad makakakuha ng imports so as of now, yun (Philippine Cup) ang nakikita kong logical,” commissioner Willie Marcial told The STAR yesterday.

The All-Filipino tournament is the most prestigious of all as it showcases local talent in a battle royale. 

The board led by chairman Ricky Vargas made the decision in an online conference a day after President Duterte extended the enhanced community quarantine to April 30. It will convene again by month’s end to discuss further action.

According to Marcial, if the government gives the go signal to hold mass gatherings after April 30, the teams could return to practice in May and resume play by June.

“Kung within June pwede na, two conferences kami,” he said. “Pero kung August pa lang makakapag-practice, baka one conference lang.”

Coaches stood behind the PBA’s decision.

“I think the governors’ assessment and decision are right on point. It seems we still have ways to go before we get a chance to play again,” Ginebra’s Tim Cone told The STAR.

“We’ll have to first figure out what is the new normal and how we can get the league back on track. I’ll be extremely happy if we can get in two conferences this year. Just playing again will be like winning a championship for all of us,” he added.

TNT consultant Mark Dickel expressed the same sentiment.

“Whenever games start again, it will be great. But ultimately it has to be safe for everyone. Whatever the PBA decides regarding conference is fine by me,” Dickel said.

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