PBA: For Chris Ross, closed-door games not the solution

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 03:10 PM

PBA: For Chris Ross, closed-door games not the solution 1
Chris Ross (6) celebrates with Marcio Lassiter during San Miguel's game against Magnolia. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel veteran Chris Ross does not believe that playing without fans is a viable alternative for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), pointing out that it still puts players and their families in danger.

The PBA suspended its activities in March due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the Board of Governors will wait until August before deciding on the fate of the league's 45th season. 

A shortened, one-conference campaign or outright cancellation of the season are on the table, but PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has ruled out closed-door games as they still violate the strict rules of physical distancing.

Ross, who has won five straight All-Filipino titles with San Miguel Beer, noted that playing before empty seats will still be risky for the players and the coaches, as well as the game officials.

"What's the difference of us and the fans?" he said during an interview with ABS-CBN News. "You know what I'm saying?"

"Why would they risk us to go out there and play with the virus still being out there? Because if you look at it, there's still people," he added, noting that in any given game, there will be at least 50 people on the court, from players to coaching staff to referees.

"All of those however many people have to go home to their families," Ross said. "So you never know."

Moreover, they can be interacting with asymptomatic persons who are inadvertently spreading the virus, noted Ross. 

"You really want to make sure this thing is under control before we get back to what we do," Ross stressed.

Ross and the Beermen took part in the first and only PBA game held this season, when they defeated Magnolia 94-78 to kick off their six-peat bid in the Philippine Cup. 

They will be disappointed if the PBA Board ends up cancelling the season, but Ross said it will be for the best.

"This is our livelihood, right, this is what we train for all year, this is what we live for. So, it's kind of a downer that we don't get to go out there and play in front of the fans and put on a show and do what we're used to doing," he admitted.

"But, when you look at it from an objective side, it's definitely the right thing we've been doing."

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