PBA back to Ynares?

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
PBA back to Ynares?
Willie Marcial

MANILA, Philippines — PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday it’s not certain if the Governors’ Cup can continue to play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with a limited live audience under the newly-designated Alert Level 3 in NCR Plus.

But Marcial said. he’ll await confirmation from the Inter-Agency Task Force, Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health and the involved local government unit (LGU) when office hours restart tomorrow. The alert level is effective until Jan. 15.

If live audience isn’t allowed, Araneta doesn’t become a viable option because the venue is too large. It’s possible that the PBA will resume games at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig with LGU clearance from City Mayor Vico Sotto but audience will not be permitted. In Alert Level 3, prohibited are “contact sports, except those conducted under a bubble-type setup as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by IATF, GAB and the Philippine Sports Commission and approved by the LGU where such games shall be held.”

Marcial said in the previous conference, the PBA was given the green light to play games in Pasig starting last July 16 but only 26 games were played until a surge in cases in NCR Plus caused a stoppage early the next month. The system allowed by IATF was a strict closed-circuit grind where movement was restricted from home to venue to home. The PBA then brought the games to Bacolor, Pampanga, as IATF allowed contact competition only in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) or Modified GCQ. Classifications have since been changed from quarantine to alert levels.

Marcial said players, coaches and staff will undergo RT-PCR testing tomorrow to resume the regular weekly Monday cycle. “Sana patuloy ang zero positive natin,” he said. “Nag-aalala ako kasi sa holiday break, alam ko ang daming nag-sialisan ng bahay at nag-celebrate pero sana naman, walang mag-positive.” He said if Araneta isn’t an option, the Ynares Sports Arena is an alternative venue. MOA may be difficult to access once the DPWH closes the southbound portion of Roxas Boulevard to repair a damaged drainage in front of the Libertad Pumping Station in Pasay City for two to three months.

The PBA has released its schedule of games from Jan. 5 to Jan. 30. Araneta is the venue for the games from Jan. 5 to 23 with the site for games from Jan. 26 to 30 to be announced. But with Alert Level 3, games may be moved out of Araneta to a smaller venue because of the ban on live audience.

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