PBA to hold bubble in Clark, restart season in October

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 04:24 PM | Updated as of Sep 17 2020 05:27 PM

The PBA Board met Thursday to decide on the league's "bubble." PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will hold its bubble in Clark, Pampanga, with the Board of Governors planning to restart the All-Filipino Cup by October 9.

The league is just waiting for approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) before pushing through with its plans.

"We looked at all those who were interested to host the PBA," PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said in a press conference on Thursday, as the league listened to some 20 possible hosts. 

"We went with the one that has a more complete offering, from the safety standpoint, particularly from the protocol, from the nearness to the hospitals and our ability to take care of the mental health of our players during the bubble," he added.

"The team decided to take the offer of Clark City."

The teams will stay at the Quest Hotel, with games to be held at the Angeles University Foundation, a venue 10 minutes away from the hotel. Each team will have a dedicated bus, and the league is looking at three different practice venues as well.

According to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, two games will be held every day, with the top four teams after the elimination round earning a twice-to-beat advantage. The semifinals will be a best-of-5 affair, and the finals will be best-of-7.

Pending the approval of the IATF, the teams may enter the bubble by September 26, and hold their scrimmages there by September 27. 

If things go according to plan, the season should be finished by the second week of December.

"I think what is important here is that we have looked, studied, and reviewed the bubble protocols that we intend to implement. We really expect strict compliance within the bubble," said PBA vice-chairman Bobby Rosales.

Marcial estimates that 350 persons will be inside the bubble. This includes at least five media members who will also be billeted at the same hotel. 

A team from the Office of the Commissioner will visit the venue on Monday to look over the facilities at Clark.

"Ang kagandahan nito, ang bubble na ito, it's not Disneyland, but it's Clark. They have their own security, they have their own police force, and they have their own protocols in seeing to it that the place will be COVID-free," Vargas said.