Time of the essence as PBA waits for IATF nod on restart plans
The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) bid to reboot its stalled season inside Clark Freeport Zone on Oct. 9 has sparked excitement within its ranks and among its legion of fans.
But the league is nursing healthy doses of guarded optimism.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, in fact, is also bracing for any eventuality—including having to push back resumption of the season if needed.
“In the event that we encounter a big problem, we’ll definitely halt the restart,” he told the Inquirer on Tuesday over the phone.
“Then we’ll see if we have to push the resumption back to January or February next year,” the PBA chief added, as he joins the league’s stakeholders in waiting for the clearance that will be given by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Managament of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The league has set Sept. 27 for the start of team scrimmages. But that, too, awaits approval.
The Inquirer has reached out to both presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on the status of the PBA’s request. Both have yet to respond as of press time.
Time if of the essence for the league if it hopes to resume its season this year. Marcial said the latest restart date has to fall within the second week of October, citing the Christmas season—Marcial said during the virtual press briefing last Thursday that the season’s resumption, which will be held inside a strict bubble, cannot encroach on the holidays because that would mean pulling people away from their families during Christmastime.
“[The target dates] could change,” he said. “Everything will really depend on the decision of the IATF.”
“Still, we’re hoping we’d learn of the verdict this week or next Monday,” he added.
The compressed Philippine Cup, which will be played on a daily basis at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF), is projected to run for at least two months.
Marcial also revealed that the ocular inspections on Monday went well. Team practices, which was not yet finalized last week, will likely be also held at AUF.
“We’re now just threshing out details with regards to that. We’re on the process of negotiating it,” he said.
Marcial said Noel Manankil, Clark Development Corp.’s president and chief operating officer, has agreed to almost every request raised by the PBA.
The PBA has played just one game in its milestone 45th season before it was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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