PBA players prefer bubble set-up for season's resumption

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2020 05:25 PM | Updated as of Sep 16 2020 05:43 PM

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial met with player representatives to discuss the resumption of the PBA season in a bubble. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The PBA players have told league officials that they are willing to resume the season in a "bubble" set-up, as opposed to a closed circuit scenario.

The players prefer a bubble similar to what is being used by the NBA, where all teams are quartered in one centralized venue. A "semi-bubble," where players go from their hotel to the team shuttle and then to the game venue, is also viable.

"Nire-request nila na tanggalin 'yung closed circuit, na home to venue," said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

The "closed circuit" scenario is what the PBA is currently implementing for the teams' small-group training sessions. In this situation, players go from their own homes to their own vehicles and then to the training venue and back.

"Payag sila sa bubble ala NBA, or kaya 'yung semi-bubble na venue to hotel," said Marcial.

Marcial met with representatives of each team on Wednesday afternoon, a day before he will meet again with the Board of Governors to make a decision on the format and venue of the league's resumption.

While the players assured Marcial that they are willing to be enclosed in a bubble for two months in order to resume the All-Filipino Cup, they still had some concerns.

"May mga requests sila, tanong tungkol sa rooms at accommodations," said Marcial. "Babanggitin ko lahat sa board bukas."

Marcial also explained the possible venues for the "bubble," with the league considering three hosts in Metro Manila and outside of it as well.

"Sinasabi ko sa kanila na (ang venue ay) one, depende sa board, and two, depende rin sa (Inter-Agency) Task Force, kung saan tayo papayagan," Marcial said.

"Wala namang nagsabi na, papaano 'pag ayaw maglaro ng player, wala. So ibig sabihin, lahat willing maglaro," he said.

PBA teams resumed their practices in late August, with players training in groups of four while observing minimum public health standards. A coach and a health officer are required to be present during the sessions.

Marcial has also written the IATF to ask permission for teams to hold scrimmages ahead of the restart that is tentatively scheduled for October 9. The commissioner hopes to receive approval by next week, as he emphasizes that teams need to hold 5-on-5 scrimmages before playing actual games again.

The PBA has been on hold since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with only game being played in the All-Filipino Cup -- the finals rematch between San Miguel Beer and the Magnolia Hotshots.