Fate of 2021 season still up in the air – Marcial

Published October 8, 2020, 6:20 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Willie Marcial
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial presides over Friday’s board meeting to discuss the proposed bubble tournament. (PBA Images)

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said Thursday while the restart inside the “bubble” would be a good basis for the league to assess things to plan for next season in 2021, it would still depend on the health situation with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Depende pa talaga kung ano ang sitwasyon. Sa ngayon hindi pa natin masabi,” Marcial told Manila Bulletin.

“Of course may tulong kung ano ang mga ginagawa natin sa ‘bubble’ at kung paanong tatakbo ang liga for this season. But for the next season, depende kung ano na ba ang health situation.”

The league resumes Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation in Clark, Pampanga – seven months after the PBA initially opened its 45th Season at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The league will have doubleheader games for the next 30 days for the entire elimination round – an unprecedented move to complete the tournament together with the playoff round by the middle of December.

Marcial said that while the league is all set for the restart, details of other PBA activities have yet to be decided, including the Rookie Draft, which may take place in late December or sometime in January 2021.

Also, the season awards is another topic that needs to be discussed, according to Marcial, since the league will only have a single conference – the Philippine Cup – for this season.

“Isang conference na lang kasi tayo for this season, so kailangan namin tignan papaano ang awarding natin, from MVP to Rookie of the Year, and the other season awards,” he said.

Under normal circumstances, the PBA has three conferences starting with the season-opener All-Filipino conference, the most prestigious among the three titles in the pro league.

The second and third conferences, the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup, are both import-flavored tournaments.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the board has scrapped the last two conferences and focused instead on resuming with the Philippine Cup.