PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that if the league is looking at starting the 46th season, April 2021 is the likely window to give the 12 teams enough time to prepare for the Philippine Cup.
“Malamang baka April na tayo,” said Marcial in a phone interview Wednesday with Manila Bulletin.
The league chief explained that there is a FIBA Asia Cup qualifying tournament scheduled February, and the pro players are likely to either reinforce or all out form the national team.
Also, the Holy Week will be in the first week of April.
“Meron tayong qualifiers, then kung late March naman tapos titigil ng April, mas maganda siguro na tuloy tuloy na lang tayo. Saka mas mabibigyan natin ang teams ng oras to prepare,” he said.
Marcial’s reactions came on the day that the PBA is set to have its semifinals with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel up against Meralco, while TNT Tropang Giga battle Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters at the AUF gym in Clark, Pampanga.
According to Marcial, they can now focus more on the game itself, particularly on officiating the four teams left in the conference who are fighting for the prestigious all-Filipino conference title.
Also, this tournament adds “significance” since the league – for the first time – held its tournament inside a bubble for the safety of the players, coaches, staff and league personnel due to COVID-19.
“Mas doon na kami nakatutok kasi konti na lang ang teams, unlike before na talagang aasikasuhin natin yung bus, food… lahat. Mahirap pero andito na tayo ngayon sa semifinal,” said Marcial.
Right after the conference, the league will have its PBA Rookie Draft in January 2021.
The board and the commissioner’s office will assess the bubble conference, and from there take steps on how to proceed with the 46th season – either holding a bubble again or not.
“Medyo maaga pa for now, but yes we’ll assess lahat ng mga nagawa,” he said. “Noong nag-start tayo remember, bago mag-start may ilalagay tayo sa guideline, then medyo iibahin para mas maganda.”
“Ngayon alam na namit halos lahat ng dapat gawin kasi nagawa na natin ang bubble… so medyo konting improvement. Pero hindi pa natin alam kung bubble ba o hindi sa next season.”
“Depende pa talaga lahat… depende sa sitwasyon, depende sa government. Hindi natin alam kung puwede ang fans kahit konti for next season, depende pa talaga sa sitwasyon,” added Marcial.