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Ilocos ready to host PBA in any setup

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ilocos Norte will always have its doors open for the PBA, whether it’s for a bubble tournament or bubble training camp for interested teams.

Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc has batted for the province as an ideal venue for the pro league, which is struggling to launch Season 46 under Metro Manila’s stricter quarantine status.

“I believe a bubble can be mutually beneficial: Ilocos Norte has a lot to offer and so does the PBA,” Manotoc told The STAR.

“Safety, of course, is our main advantage since we’ve been under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) for months now. And we have the facilities and many attractions like the sand dunes, windmills, and white sand beaches,” he added.

MGCQ is the most relaxed among the quarantine levels, where the government allows 5-on-5 scrimmages and pro basketball games.

For now, the PBA is inclined more to the closed-circuit arrangement, where the teams will strictly follow a home-venue-home routine.

The league, however, didn’t count out the bubble concept altogether, saying it’s still an option.

“I hope to welcome PBA teams soon in whatever setup. I’ll always support the PBA whole-heartedly,” said Manotoc, who grew up with the league owing to his father, champion coach Tommy, and brother, broadcaster TJ. The governor himself now works as a player agent with Danny and Marvin Espiritu.

The pro league is currently arranging for teams to resume their non-scrimmage physical conditioning sessions in a closed-circuit setup in GCQ-classified Batangas City.

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said the Batangas practice is an option worth looking at.

“It’s certainly something we’re considering. There are a lot of details left to be decided including protocols and such. But the drive down there (Batangas) with all the new roads makes it easy,” he said.

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