Despite delays, PBA still targeting 2 conferences for 46th season

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2021 07:05 PM

Despite delays, PBA still targeting 2 conferences for 46th season 1

MANILA, Philippines -- Even though they have yet to receive a go-signal to start their 46th season, PBA officials remain hopeful that they can hold two conferences this year. 

A season that was supposed to start on April 18 remains in limbo, with the government unlikely to give the PBA the green light to hold games unless COVID-19 cases drop. 

Nonetheless, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial believes they have time to hold two conferences this year.

"Kung magsimula tayo ng June, kaya natin ng two conferences," Marcial said in a press briefing, Thursday. "Matatapos tayo ng December."

"Two conferences, pero magiging single round na siguro ang second conference," he added.

Initially, the league planned for the first conference -- the All-Filipino Cup -- to be a single round affair, while the second conference will go for two rounds. The PBA had also hoped that they could invite imports for the second conference, although that plan remains up in the air as well.

The league will also have a compressed schedule for the season. Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua said the gap between conferences will be just five to seven days.

"Kapat natapos ang unang conference, magsa-sacrifice talaga," he said. "Mga pitong araw, umpisa na ulit, or limang araw."

"'Yung mga na-out, 'yun ang unang maglalaro para makapahinga 'yung pumasok ng finals or semis. Pero we're hitting two conferences this year," Chua added.

"Between conferences, mga five to seven days. Ganoon kahigpit," Marcial stressed.

As for the season's format, Marcial said they have yet to make a decision, although a bubble remains on the table. The commissioner previously said that Ilocos Norte and at least one other local government unit have offered to host the PBA.

However, Chua admits that teams are hesitant to return to a bubble environment.

"As much as possible, kung pupwede sana, 'yung uwian kami, hindi bubble," said Chua, the sports director of the San Miguel Corp. "'Yun ang gusto namin, dahil na-experience na namin ang bubble." 

"'Yung mga player, na-experience ang bubble. Kung tinuloy natin ang bubble, walang uwian, okay 'yun. Pero pinauwi na natin sila, nakita na nila ang labas. Mahirap ibalik ulit," he explained. "'Yun ang nilalaban namin, na kung pwede, uwian kami."

A possible scenario is for the PBA to start in a bubble, and then transition into a closed circuit when quarantine restrictions ease.

"Kunyari lang, nag-bubble. Worst comes to worst, nag-bubble," said Chua. "Hindi namin sasabihin na two months. Pwede nating gawin na isang buwan (ang bubble). Pag okay na sa Metro Manila, balik na kami lahat."