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Safety first

PBA braces for 2-conference season, including PH Cup; Marcial pegs earliest restart on June 1
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:05 AM April 08, 2020
San Miguel Beermen

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

The PBA will shelve at least one conference off of its 45th season calendar—if and when it resumes—as the extension of the Luzon-wide lockdown continues to take its toll on sporting events in the country. Commissioner Willie Marcial and the league’s board met on Tuesday afternoon via conference call and they arrived at the decision, but one Inquirer source said that when the league resumes, it will definitely restart with the Philippine Cup and play just one import-laced tournament.

The worst case scenario is—if the lockdown goes on—for just one conference to be played, the Philippine Cup, which, on a lighter note, will give San Miguel Beer the chance to extend its unprecedented five-season reign.

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“The important thing for us, as what has always been, is the safety of everyone in the league, especially the fans,” Marcial said. “As long as mass gatherings are not allowed, then the season will stay suspended.”

Marcial said that it was also decided that the league will donate P1 million worth of personal protective equipment to hospitals that he feels needs them the most.

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Help to the league’s game-day staff will continue, while the D-League will most likely be played after the UAAP announced the total cancellation of its season.

“If the collegiate season is canceled, then we will most likely play the D-League,” he said. “I think it’s important that we give the basketball players in the country a league to play in.”Only one game was played in the Philippine Cup before the lockdown was ordered by President Duterte as the league immediately heeded Malacañang’s call to prevent mass gatherings and slow the spread of the new virus.

The earliest that the league can restart is on June 1, as Marcial said that if the lockdown is indeed lifted at the end of the month, he is inclined to give all the teams at least one month to prepare.

“We cannot have the players playing immediately because we will all make them prone to injuries,” Marcial said. “It’s a struggle to keep in shape in these times, let alone in basketball shape.” INQ

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TAGS: Basketball, coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, PBA, Sports, Willie Marcial
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