Tripleheader ushers in Season 46

Joaquin M. Henson - Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines — The PBA will start its 46th season with tripleheaders thrice a week and a twinbill on Saturday to roll out 11 games on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the first leg of the 3x3 tournament unfolds on Aug. 21 or 22. It’ll be a busy schedule for the pro league as Commissioner Willie Marcial said he expects to hold two conferences up to January next year. The no-audience games will be exclusively staged at the Yñares Sports Arena in Pasig as the Yñares Center in Antipolo is being used as a vaccination hub by the provincial government.

The season opens on Friday with a simple kickoff ceremony at 11 a.m., followed by the first game at 12:30 p.m. The second game is at 2:30 p.m. and the third, at 6 p.m. The tripleheader schedule will be the same for Wednesday and Friday. The first game will be shown live on OneSports and PBA Rush while the second and third games will be aired live on TV5 and PBA Rush. There will be a 20 to 30 minute break in between games for sanitation.

Two games will be played on Saturday, the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 4:35 p.m. Both games will be telecast live on OneSports and PBA Rush. On Sundays, the first game will be at 2 p.m. and the second at 4:35 p.m., both live on TV5 and PBA Rush. The third game will be at 7 p.m. live on PBA Rush and delayed on TV5. The Sunday is schedule will be for July 18 and 15 and Aug. 1, 8 and 15.

PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro said the schedule will revert to doubleheaders when the 3x3 tournament is launched with games starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. Castro said at the moment, the league has a pool of 21 referees. “We’re trying to add three to five rookie refs but we’re still waiting for them to complete their vaccination,” he said. “With the three to five additions, we could reach a pool of up to 24 or 26 referees. We will do a cycle of 12 referees to work 11 games a week then another set of 12 for the next week.”

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