MANILA, Philippines -- The next two activities of the PBA will be held on digital platforms, commissioner Willie Marcial has confirmed, as both its awards night and rookie draft will take place virtually.
The PBA is set to award the outstanding performers of its recently concluded Philippine Cup on January 17, while the Rookie Draft will take place on March 14.
"Virtual 'yang gagawin natin diyan," Marcial said of the awarding ceremony where the league will recognize the Best Player, Outstanding Rookie, and Most Improved players from the All-Filipino conference held in the "bubble" in Clark, Pampanga.
The PBA will also give out a Sportsmanship award and recognize a "Special Team," the counterpart of the Mythical Five for this unique season that saw only one conference push through because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Rookie Draft will also take place virtually, with the league still thinking on whether or not they will hold a draft combine.
Marcial admits that it would be tricky to do the usual two-day combine, where rookie hopefuls are measured for their biometrics while also showcasing their skills to team scouts.
"Ang pinag-uusapan namin, magtatanong ako kung paano ang draft combine. Pinag-aaralan namin 'yun kung may draft combine, kung pupuwede," said Marcial.
In ordinary years, a draft combine will feature a mini-tournament among the draft applicants. Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila still do not allow for five-on-five scrimmages among teams, making it doubly difficult to hold a combine.
"Tingnan din natin, kasi ako, parang mahirap yata mag-combine kasi may physical contact, hindi naman kayo talaga naka-bubble," Marcial pointed out.
"So, 'yun mga pinag-aaralan namin. Pwedeng mawala na 'yung combine, pwedeng andiyan, so pagaaralan namin 'yun. Pero 'yung drafting, siguradong virtual 'yun," he added.
The PBA has already made changes to the draft process this year, doing away with its usual requirement of playing in the D-League. The developmental tournament was not held in 2020 due to the global health crisis.
Rookie hopefuls have until January 27 to submit their draft applications.