Bolts, KaTropa, three other squads enter bubble first
Sister teams Meralco and TNT, along with Phoenix, Magnolia and Terrafirma will be the first teams to enter the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) competition bubble on Monday for its 45th Season reboot in two weeks at Clark Freeport Zone.
“I was told the players are ready to go,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer in a quick phone call on Sunday. “Some had a couple of questions but I have gotten no issues (with regards to the setup).”
The five squads will be picked up in various schedules at designated points and will be ferried to the Quest Hotel in Mimosa in buses.
The other seven teams, including defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, are scheduled to enter the bubble on Tuesday.Delegates, which the league said would number around 350, will all be subjected to another COVID-19 test and are tasked to undergo self-isolation until the results are known, and only after that can teams proceed to do full-contact scrimmages.
The league on Sunday released a photo of the Philippine Arena’s maple hardwood flooring being placed in the Angeles University Foundation, where scrimmages and the actual games will be held.
The PBA is scheduled to take the lid off its compressed Philippine Cup on Oct. 11, a Sunday.“We are all excited to get back on the court again. We have not been able to go five-on-five, so we’ll focus on conditioning and scrimmages to get back some of our cohesiveness,” Bolts head coach Norman Black told the Inquirer.“My major concern is we have limited practice time, but since we’re all under the same circumstances, our goal is to focus on the positive and get ourselves ready,” he added.
Leo Austria, the Beermen’s coach, said in previous interviews that the limited window for scrimmages should prove as “the great equalizer.”
“(Victory) will now depend on the focus and the mindset of the players,” Austria said in an interview with former PBA chief Noli Eala over the weekend.
The compressed all-Filipino tournament is projected to run for at least two months, with games to be played on a daily basis.
A single round-robin format will be used in the elimination phase. The top four teams will be awarded a twice-to-beat armor.
Winners will then advance to a best-of-five semifinal round. The last two teams will then tangle in full, seven-game series for the crown. INQ
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