PBA: Fans banned at games for now, but league eyes their return next conference

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2021 08:19 PM

PBA: Fans banned at games for now, but league eyes their return next conference 1
Ginebra fans react as Ginebra plays against Meralco at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Finals at the Araneta Coliseum, October 20, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News / FILE PHOTO

Despite getting greenlit by the government to resume play, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said fans are still not allowed at games, but he hopes to see live spectators in the succeeding conference. 

In a virtual press conference, Marcial explained that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) prohibited fans at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City and at Ynares Center in Antipolo City despite citing the situation in neighboring countries. 

“Sinabi ko nga sa IATF na sa China, NBA, 100%, 25% ang Korea at Japan. Pero sabi, ‘wag muna, wag muna.’ So wala tayong fans,” Marcial bared. 

Although without assurance, Marcial is eyeing the playoffs of the second conference to allow basketball enthusiasts to sit in bleachers. 

“Sa tingin ko, baka sa playoffs ng second conference sana. Baka may fans na tayo doon,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra earlier announced a no fans policy in all sporting events that received approval from IATF to resume. 

According to Mitra, unlike other countries, the country still lags behind in terms of the numbers of vaccinated residents. 

“I'm sorry but it's still no fans po. No audience pa rin po ang guidelines ng IATF . . . I know that you guys have been watching the NBA and the Euro football. But in their countries kasi po, marami na po ang vaccinated, and tayo po ay hindi pa talaga marami ang vaccinated,” he said in a virtual meeting. 

“Naintindihan naman po ng PBA 'yan at ng mga league organizers. So sa ngayon, negative pa po ang approval ng IATF sa mga audience para makapanood. So a maximum of 100 people in the bubble, or in the venue.”

On Friday, the IATF finally granted the request of the PBA to open its 2021 season on July 16. 

The PBA will be following a 10-day cycle instead of 14 days in a closed-circuit semibubble setup for its 46th season. 

Marcial also said that 95 percent of the PBA family have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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