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PBA celebrates 45th anniversary in silence

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 09:44 PM April 09, 2020
Willie Marcial

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—The PBA has to forego its 45th anniversary with Luzon still under enhanced community quarantine due to the grip of COVID-19.

With 45 years being a milestone, celebrating it in normal circumstances would’ve been a given but league commissioner Willie Marcial said that with the country in a health crisis, there’s no way a celebration will be pulled off.

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“It’s disappointing because we’ve had a lot of programs and gimmicks laid out for the 45th year of the PBA,” said Marcial in Filipino in a report from the league’s official website.

The ECQ was put in place to curb the effects of the virus and prevent it from spreading to more people.

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Marcial said that with the current situation, the health of everyone involved is the priority.

“Of course, the most important thing right now is the welfare of the players, officials, employees, media, and of course, the fans,” said Marcial. “It’s their well-being that’s the priority.”

Marcial has been with the PBA since 1983, having the role of a statistician, and has experienced some rough patches including that year’s political and economic turmoil, the disbandment of the Crispa and Toyota franchises in 1984, and the 1997 financial crisis.

This COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected a total of 4,076 people in the Philippines, is far different from the previous nationwide problems that have also afflicted the league.

“This is different. We’ve just started the season but we had to stop our games,” said Marcial. “We can’t do anything now, and no one wanted this to happen also.”

The Philippine Cup was only one-game-old, a 94-78 win for defending champion San Miguel against Magnolia, when it was suspended due to COVID-19.

Though April 9 fell on Maundy Thursday, the league then intended to hold the celebration for Easter Sunday on April 12, starting with a matchup between Columbian and Blackwater with the blockbuster San Miguel vs. Barangay Ginebra as the closer.

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“Well, this happened, you just have to play with the cards that you’re dealt with,” said Marcial.

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