Clark, Quest ready for PBA
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2020 - 12:00am

A day before the PBA announced a week ago that the season restart will be in a bubble condition at Clark, commissioner Willie Marcial met up with two players from each team in the league’s Libis office to brief them on what to expect when the games begin. The attendance was perfect. Every team was represented and aside from the 24 who checked in, Ginebra’s L. A. Tenorio joined via zoom as he was in the hospital awaiting the birth of his new baby. Marcial said the discussion was lively and not a single player expressed reservations about staying in the bubble.

Players, however, may opt out of the bubble like in the NBA. If they do, the issue will be resolved at the team level. In Larry Fonacier’s case, he’s opting out for personal reasons and NLEX won’t take it against him, meaning his salary continues. But if a player enters the bubble and leaves without approval, he will be fined P100,000 by the league and suspended five games the next season. Additionally, a one-month salary deduction will be imposed. Not all the players in a team may be allowed in the bubble because the limit is 15 plus an optional reserve. So a team employing over 16 players will decide whom to bring to Clark and whom to leave out. The deadline to submit each team’s 25-man contingent, including 15 or 16 players, is today.

During the meeting with Marcial, NLEX’ Asi Taulava asked if there will be barber services in the bubble. For players who make it to the finals, it will be almost a 2 1/2 month stay away from home. Someone asked if hotel rooms will be one per player. Another wondered what amenities will be available. Everybody agreed that whatever the PBA offers, it will be all good. Just to be able to play the game again is a blessing.

The players and PBA staff will be billeted at the Quest Hotel Plus Conference Center on Mimosa Drive in Clark, a four-star facility with 303 deluxe and grand deluxe rooms, swimming pool, game rooms, spa and a gym. It used to be known as Holiday Inn Clark. Players will be accommodated on a twin sharing basis. Two golf courses within the 200-hectare Mimosa estate will be reserved for the PBA’s exclusive use. Players may go around the Mimosa property in All-Terrain-Vehicles. There is a plan to convert Quest conference rooms into playing courts where teams can hold practice. The hotel will be closed to outsiders and open strictly for the PBA. Medical teams will be on standby to attend to any eventuality.

To finish the Philippine Cup, the PBA will hold a maximum of 91 contests over 49 game days. The schedule is broken down into 65 games left in the single-round eliminations, quarterfinals where the top four placers enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over the next four (the NBA calls it a play-in process), two best-of-five semifinal series and a best-of-seven finals. If every series goes the distance, it will mean eight games in the quarterfinals, 10 in the semifinals and seven in the finals. The season will restart Oct. 11 and end Dec. 15 or 18.

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