PBA explores Ilocos Norte as possible bubble venue

Published April 20, 2021, 8:48 PM

by Jonas Terrado

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PBA Images

The PBA received an offer from the provincial government of Ilocos Norte to host a bubble in the event it becomes the league’s last resort to start the 46th season this year.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said he had initial talks with Ilocos Norte governor Matthew Manotoc regarding the possible staging of the bubble up north, but added that the offer could be entertained depending on the current COVID-19 situation.

Marcial also discussed the matter with Perry Martinez, who heads the Metro Ilocos Norte Council.

Both officials are no stranger to the PBA, with Manotoc being a player agent prior to his political career while Martinez once headed the league’s technical committee.

The league is also putting priority on vaccination efforts, which the league believes will create an easier path towards starting the season.

“Pero hindi namin sinasara yung bubble (But we’re not closing the possibility of another bubble),” Marcial said in a virtual press conference held Tuesday, April 20.

Holding another bubble remains a last option for the league since it is taking into consideration the financial aspects and mental health issues as witnessed in last year’s Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga.

The league spent about P65 million during the two-month bubble which saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel winning the title of the 45th season’s only tournament.

Ilocos Norte is allowed to host events like the PBA since the province is currently under Modified General Community Quarantine, the lightest restriction imposed by the government.

The PBA had plans to stage the delayed season at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City under a closed-circuit arrangement since the capital city of Rizal was initially under MGCQ.

Rizal, however, is current under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine after cases increased to more or less 10,000 per day in recent weeks.

Marcial said that the Rizal government, through former governor Jun Ynares, is committed to host the games in whatever setup once government restrictions are eased.