Closed-circuit format for next PBA season?

Published December 16, 2020, 2:11 PM

by Jonas Terrado

The PBA could implement a closed-circuit format for the 46th season which could start on the league’s anniversary on April 9.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the concept will be implemented unless a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in the weeks leading up to the 2021 season opener.

Vaccinations have started in the United Kingdom and the United States while the Philippine government is still in the process of acquiring COVID-19 vaccines.

“If vaccine is not yet available, we’ll likely go for closed-circuit which we had implemented in our return to practices prior to the Clark bubble tourney,” Marcial said in a story posted on the PBA’s official website.

“Closed-circuit concept is a lot less lenient, requiring home-venue-home scheme; not lockdown in one place for the entire delegation as what we did in Clark,” added Marcial.

A closed-circuit arrangement will limit the movements of teams from their homes to the playing venues or practice facilities and vice versa. It was the same setup that was implemented prior to the entry of the PBA contingent in a bubble held in Clark, Pampanga.

Stanley Pringle of Barangay Ginebra shoots over Troy Rosario of TNT during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. (PBA Images)

The league spent P65 million for the staging of the bubble which saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel capture the PBA Philippine Cup, the only championship contested during the 45th season.

During the bubble, teams and league officials and staff were limited to being at the Quest Hotel and the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Read: Only good memories as Quest Hotel braces for PBA departure

But Marcial acknowledged that mental health was one of the issues during the staging of the bubble.

“Nakita ko na nahirapan ang mga players lalo na noong first months,” said Marcial.