PBA to play on Christmas Day

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The PBA will roll out a holiday treat for fans with a Commissioner’s Cup semifinal schedule on Christmas Day at the MOA Arena. There will also be a schedule on Dec. 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum before the league takes a break and restarts on Jan. 4.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the full schedule will depend on the finish of the quarterfinals, best-of-five semifinals and best-of-seven finals. Assuming every series goes the distance, the conference will end on Jan. 15 with the Governors Cup starting a week later on Jan. 22. The goal is to finish the season in April to allow Gilas a free hand to choose PBA players for the national team competing in the Phnom Penh SEA Games on May 5-17. Based on projections, the Dec. 25 schedule may feature two Game 5s of the semifinals and Dec. 28 could be the opening of the finals.

Deputy commissioner Eric Castro said the semifinal and final games will be played on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The start of the Governors Cup may be advanced if the playoff games end less than the full route. At the moment, Castro said the tentative date to open the third conference is Jan. 22 as presented to the Board of Governors.

Marcial said he’s studying venue options for other Commissioner’s Cup playoff games as there are concert and event bookings during the holidays. He added that antigen testing will continue on game days until a reevaluation is made after a 100 percent league-wide negative result for 10 days to two weeks. Marcial said the concern is the safety of everyone and it won’t be compromised.

If the best-of-three quarterfinal series pitting Converge against San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra against NorthPort are extended to a rubber, the deciders will be on Dec. 14 with the semifinals kicking off on Dec. 16. All quarterfinal contests will be held at the PhilSports Arena.

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