Tenorio wants fellow players to be all-in if PBA is to restart its 45th Season
Superstar Barangay Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio is upbeat that player representatives of the 12 teams will come up with a unified stand on the restart of the PBA’s 45th Season—if there will be one—as they meet with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial for a dialogue at the league’s office on Tuesday.
Marcial will brief the players on health and safety protocols in the event that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) allows the PBA to hold practices and eventually, actual games, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For Tenorio and his fellow PBA players, however, the gathering will give them an opportunity to make a firm decision on whether or not they will be playing this season under strict health and safety protocols—as the world continues its search for a vaccine.
“We want to be united in our decision,” said Tenorio, who has favored a restart to the season that was cut short after just one game as the nationwide lockdown was enforced. “We can’t have one player say he doesn’t want to play. As much as possible, we want to have one voice.”
Health and safety are the foremost consideration for the restart, but several factors also come into play, including the financial state of the league.
For one, Marcial has admitted that the league has been losing 30 million a month in revenues as it continues to pay its staff and employees even without playing actual games. The figure doesn’t include the expenses of the ball clubs, which have continued to pay the full salaries of their players during the stoppage—a commitment no team has so far voiced to being changed.
But if the league does get the IATF go-ahead to play and some players opt to sit out, several members of the league’s board of governors know that they can implement the “no play, no pay” policy that will be backed by the commissioner’s office.
San Miguel’s Chris Ross, who has also been invited to the dialogue to represent the Beermen, expressed misgivings on the restart on a social media post a few weeks back.
“What’s the rush?,” Ross asked when contacted by the Inquirer recently, although he could have changed his stand with leagues all over the world starting to play—albeit in empty venues. “I don’t understand the rush to play when this is people’s lives we are talking about.”
Tenorio said his main concern are the protocols that are in place should a player or member of the staff test positive for the coronavirus while the season is ongoing. “If we are indeed having our own basketball bubble, how can we protect that bubble?” Tenorio said.
“This is the reason why it’s important that players come together and discuss these things among ourselves, not just with the league. Because the only way for this to work is if we are all committed and disciplined.”
Also representing their teams in the meeting with Marcial are JV Casio (Alaska), RJ Jazul (Phoenix), Beau Belga (Rain or Shine), Chris Newsome (Meralco), Sean Anthony (NorthPort), Jayson Castro (TNT), Kiefer Ravena (NLEX), CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip) and KG Canaleta (Blackwater). INQ
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