MANILA -- Basketball fans are in for a treat this month after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) finally granted the request of the PBA to open its 2021 season on July 16 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
In a virtual press conference on Friday, PBA commissioner Willie confirmed the good news to the media, admitting that he learned of the IATF approval from Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos just last Thursday.
The PBA will also hold games at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Marcial already had discussions with former Antipolo Mayor Jun Ynares and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.
There will be a three-day initial test before opening day for all the players and staff of the league.
PBA will be following a 10-day cycle instead of 14 days in a closed-circuit semi-bubble setup for its 46th season.
Marcial also said that 95 percent of the PBA family have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Games and Amusement Board first announced the IATF's approval of the PBA season Friday morning.
“We just want to update everybody that the IATF has already approved the resumption of the PBA in their meeting yesterday. And PBA will start on July 16,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra said.
“We don't want the league to be a problem, and we don't want to be a burden and a problem to the PBA. We are in full support of the resumption of professional sports. However, we are of course guided by the joint admin order, which IATF has tasked us to do,” he added.
Marcial also met with Abalos at the agency's headquarters in Makati City, to seek further guidance on the IATF rules and regulations on contact sports.
The MMDA and the PBA will work on some actions to be undertaken, which will be acceptable to the IATF.
"We have to ensure the safety of everyone, not only the players, but the general viewing public. We cannot compromise the health and well-being of all," Abalos said in a statement released by the PBA.