PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the possibility of starting the 46th season next month will hinge on whether the government-approved staging of 5-on-5 scrimmages in areas under General Community Quarantine is a success.
Marcial is giving teams at least a month to hold full practices starting May 18 at the earliest after the Inter-Agency Task Force approved the league’s request to allow such setup under GCQ guidelines.
“Tinitignan natin practices ng isang buwan. Siguro by June or later part ng May baka dahan-dahan natin pag-aaralan kung paano at dahan-dahan tayo makikipagusap kung pwede na tayo mag-start ng season,” Marcial said.
Such a scenario will allow the team to push through with plans to stage a two-conference season that lasts until December. The PBA has already reduced the schedule of the second conference from a double-round to a single-round schedule.
The PBA already has gotten the nod of Batangas City as an option for teams to hold practices since it is under GCQ until May 31.
But the league is also waiting on the possibility that Metro Manila and provinces inside NCR Plus, namely Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan will be downgraded to GCQ after May 14.
The government is expected to decide on the matter in the coming days if Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine restrictions in NCR Plus could be lifted.
If the restrictions are relaxed, Marcial said the league will likely stage the scrimmages either at the Ynares Center in Antipolo or the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Marcial is also banking on teams to adhere to the health and safety measures that will be crafted for the scrimmages, or otherwise face stiff sanctions from the league.
“Lalakihan natin yan kasi gusto natin maging successful,” said Marcial, who set sanctions of P100,000 and suspension during last year’s PBA bubble in Pampanga.
“Hindi naman para sa kanila lang to. Para sa kapwa nila players, kapwa nila teammates, kasama sa team, pamilya nila, at sa pamilya din ng mga team members nila. Sana maintindihan nila,” he added.