PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said they are closely monitoring the developments in the NBA after two more games were called off because of the rising cases of COVID-19 across different teams.
Marcial said that they are observing the NBA setup of a semi-bubble that allows players to travel with their teams to different states and cities for games and go back to their respective homes.
“Of course tinitignan natin, sinusundan natin yung mga nangyayari sa NBA,” said Marcial Tuesday when contacted by Manila Bulletin. “Medyo dumadami nga ang nagkakasakit sa kanila.”
“Tinitignan natin kung ano ang mga ginagawa nila in terms of health protocols, papaano kung may mga nag-positive. Ngayon ilang games na naman ang cancel so malaking bagay.”
While the league in the US implements strict health protocols in hopes to stop the spread of the virus, there were a number of players that tested positive for COVD-19 resulting in the postponement of games.
The latest to cancel were the matches between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Dallas Mavericks Monday, as well as the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls Tuesday. The league already reduced its season to 72 games per team instead of the regular 82 games.
There were reports that league officials and owners are thinking of having a 7 to 10 days of break because of the situation, and that a review and possible revision of health protocols will be implemented.
The said arrangement this season is different from the one the NBA did in its previous season when it had a bubble tournament when it resumed for the 2020 Season in Orlando, Florida.
Here in the PBA, the league board and the commissioner’s office followed the bubble system of the NBA when it returned last October for the Philippine Cup in Angeles, Pampanga.
The said bubble implemented a similar strict health protocol on the guideline under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of the Games and Amusements Board, the Department of Health and the Philippine Sports Commission.
While there is no decision yet on what to implement when the PBA returns for its Season 46 in April, Marcial said that two things are being considered – similar to the bubble they had last year or a semi-bubble like in the NBA.
“Sa ngayon wala pa naman talaga, pag-uusapan pa ng board yan. Kaya nga ito nakikita natin paano ang ginagawa ni NBA, sa nakaka-kuha tayo ng idea kung ano ang mga puwede nating gawin,” he said.
Another thing Marcial pointed out is the availability of vaccines in the coming months.
He said that once vaccines are made available for the players, the spread of the COVID-19 virus may be contained, and that’s what he hopes to happen if and when the PBA resumes this year.
“Sa kanila kasi I think naka-pila pa (NBA) kasi inuuna pa mga health workers, frontliners kaya hindi pa nababakunahan yung mga players. Sa atin ganun din na pipila tayo kasi alam naman natin kung sino ang mga dapat na unahin din for the vaccine,” he said.
“Sana by that time na mag-resume ang liga, sana may available vaccines na sa Pilipinas… kaya tignan natin. Kung wala pa paguusapan naman sa board yan kung ano ang dapat na gawin.”
The league board – chaired by TNT KaTropa governor Ricky Vargas – is set to meet January 28.