MANILA, Philippines -- The PBA is still open to holding its upcoming 46th season in a biosecure "bubble," with at least one local government unit already offering to serve as host.
The league successfully completed the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga, last December, with Barangay Ginebra beating the TNT Tropang GIGA in five games to become champions.
While the PBA is considering other options for its 2021 season -- including a "closed circuit" format -- a second bubble is still on the table.
"We have not really discounted the bubble option," said Bobby Rosales, vice chairman of the PBA Board of Governors, in a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon. "That's still on the table."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has already received an offer from Governor Matthew Manotoc of Ilocos Norte to host the bubble.
"Sinabi ko sa mga governors, kausap ko si Gov. Matthew Manotoc last week at kahapon. Ino-offer niya na mag-host ng bubble sa Ilocos Norte, at nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya," he said.
"Kaibigan natin si Gov. Matthew. Sinabi ko ang mga kundisyon, kung paano. Sinabi ko, intayin lang natin kung ano ang direksyon ng governors," he added.
The PBA Board, after a meeting on Monday, ultimately decided that they will prioritize its vaccination program. The hope is that the government will be more inclined to approve the opening of the PBA season if the players, coaches, and league personnel are vaccinated.
However, Marcial also said they are not closing their doors on the bubble as offered by Manotoc.
"Hindi namin sinasara ang bubble. Ganoon ang usapan namin," he said.
They also remain in close coordination with Jun Ynares, the former mayor of Antipolo City who has already offered the Ynares Center as the venue for the league's opening day.
"Sinasabi niya (Ynares), 'Open ako sa PBA - bubble, closed circuit, kung ano ang gusto niya. Okay ako basta may approval ng IATF'," said Marcial. "So ayun ang dalawang LGUs na handang tumulong sa atin."
While thankful for their help, the PBA executives also maintained that their vaccination program will be crucial if they hope to start the season in a more "normal" manner.
"We'd like to look at the vaccination of the whole PBA as the first option, so we can get better options than a bubble," said Rosales.
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