PBA cancels events 'until further notice'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2020 08:47 AM | Updated as of Mar 11 2020 03:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines — (2nd UPDATE) The Philippine Basketball Association has decided to cancel its activities "until further notice" as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement, the league said that effective March 11, all of its events -- including the Philippine Cup, the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, and the inaugural PBA 3x3 tournament -- will be postponed.

They arrived at the decision at an emergency board meeting on Tuesday night.

This comes after the league already postponed the opening of its 45th season by a week in light of the outbreak.

"Considering the present situation surrounding COVID-19 and the Presidential declaration of Public Health Emergency, it is our paramount duty and responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our fans, players, teams, officials and staff," the league said.

"The league, however, will assess the effects of COVID-19 on a day-to-day basis guided by the parameters set by the DOH and WHO and will remain committed to conduct its games and activities in a safe and responsible manner for all its stakeholders."

Immediately impacted were the games pitting NLEX against NorthPort, and TNT against Phoenix Super LPG. Those matches were originally scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.

A spokesperson for NLEX told ABS-CBN News that while they were "saddened" by the postponement, they were in full support of the league's decision.

"Our team has devoted its time to preparing for the new PBA season. We are saddened at the league's postponement because we've been looking forward to competing and giving our fans a good performance," the NLEX representative said.

"However, we understand and support the decision of the PBA Board. The safety of the fans, athletes, and league personnel takes precedence over any game."

Philippine sports events have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The UAAP announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all activities until March 17, while NCAA events are on hold indefinitely. The Philippine Azkals' upcoming World Cup/Asian Cup joint qualifiers have also been postponed.

The AFC Cup fixture between Ceres-Negros FC Bali United on Wednesday night will be held behind closed doors at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. 

According to the Department of Health, the Philippines has 33 cases of COVID-19. President Rodrigo Duterte announced a state of public health emergency on Monday to arrest the spread of the virus.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).