PBA still hopes to return to Metro Manila

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2021 12:12 PM


MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is not ruling out a return to Metro Manila even as they prepare to resume the All-Filipino Cup in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The PBA is planning to resume its conference at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor by September 1, after getting approval both from the university as well as the local government of Pampanga.

But PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is not ruling out a possible return to the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, where they held the first few games of the conference before stopping due to the spike in COVID-19 Delta variant cases.

"Kung okay na sa Manila, eh balik tayo sa Manila," Marcial said on "The Chasedown" last weekend.

"Pero kailangan kasi bigyan natin ng ample time para mag-set up ulit, kasi nag-set up tayo. Siguro tatapusin natin ng phase by phase," he added.

At the moment, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) only allows the PBA to hold its games in areas under general community quarantine or modified general community quarantine. Metro Manila is under modified enhanced community quarantine until September 7.

If the quarantine restrictions are eased in Metro Manila after September 7, then the PBA can return to the Pasig venue but only upon the conclusion of the elimination round. Teams will be playing a packed elimination round schedule, with the PBA set to hold double- or even triple-headers five days a week.

"Dito muna (sa Pampanga) ang elimination," Marcial said. "Ang plano, babalik sa NCR 'pag okay na talaga sa NCR."

The PBA ball clubs are currently practicing in three different venues in Pampanga ahead of the restart of the games. The Games and Amusements Board is set to inspect the game venue on Tuesday. 

Unlike the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, which was a complete bubble, the PBA is making use of a "semi-bubble" this time around with five different hotels in Pampanga housing the teams as well as the PBA delegation.