PBA opening suffers another setback as gov’t reimposes ECQ in Metro Manila, nearby provinces

Published March 27, 2021, 11:38 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

The PBA was dealt another setback in its preparation for the 46th season as practices of all teams will be put on hold when Metro Manila and surrounding provinces are placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine regulations on Monday, March 29.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the league will still take a wait-and-see approach while ECQ is imposed on the so-called “NCR bubble” until Easter Sunday, April 4 in a bid to curb the spike of COVID-19 cases.

With cases almost reaching 10,000 in the past two days, the government decided to once again implement the strictest guideline since the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March 2020.

That means that teams can’t hold practices under ECQ as per guidelines of the Joint Administrative Order composed of the Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Health.

“Maghihintay pa rin ako sa April 5 kung ano ang kundisyon natin, anong CQ (Community Quarantine) tayo and from there dun tayo magsisimula kung anong hakbang ang gagawin,” Marcial said late Saturday, March 27.

(I’ll still wait for April 5 to see what our condition is and what quarantine guidelines are going to be implemented. From there, we’ll think of what steps we can make.)

Marcial earlier acknowledged the opening of the 46th season in mid-April is in limbo after Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were put under the General Community Quarantine.

The PBA had plans to stage the 46th season at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City since Rizal was then under a less-stringent Modified General Community Quarantine.

MGCQ areas are allowed to hold sporting events, and Marcial said that talks with former Rizal governor Jun Ynares were going smoothly prior to the new regulations.

A 10-month, two-conference season under a closed-circuit arrangement was something PBA plans to hold after staging the shortened 45th season under a bubble concept in Pampanga.