PBA sets sights on April 9 opening for next season, won’t give out MVP award
SMART CLARK GIGA CITY—The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has begun plotting for its 46th season, and has targeted April 9—its founding date—as its tentative opening date.
“We are still studying other options, which will depend on a variety of factors,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told reporters here on Thursday. “Factors like the [COVID-19] vaccine, the need for a bubble set-up, possible venues and the state of the economy.”
The development comes on the heels of the PBA’s meeting with its Board of Governors, which also tackled the upcoming Rookie Draft, the staging of its maiden 3×3 tournament, and the awards that will be given upon the conclusion of this extraordinary season.
Amateurs hoping to make it to the PBA can field their applications beginning this Dec. 7. The Draft is scheduled around the second week of March and is expected to be a deep one owing to the league’s lifting of its many requirements, including a stint in its D-League.
It remains unclear, however, if there will be a special draft, according to the commissioner, as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)—basketball’s governing body—has yet to examine the pool of upcoming talents.
The possibility of a special draft also depends on what the SBP will do with its current pool of players on loan to the national team.
Marcial said the league’s 3×3 committee, chaired by Alaska governor Richard Bachmann, has started to iron out details for the specialized league set to unfurl this February at the earliest.
The league agreed it will not crown a Most Valuable Player, but instead name a Best Player of the Conference, owing to this season’s extraordinary setup.
The PBA will also name an “Outstanding Rookie” instead of “Rookie of the Year,” and rebrand its Mythical Team as a “Special Team.”
The league will still name a Most Improved Player and Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award recipient in what will likely be a virtual edition of its annual awards night, which will fall around January.
“We all saw how great the sacrifices players made this season,” Marcial said. “We want to give them the recognition they deserve.”
Also present in the three-hour meeting were representatives from the East Asia Super League, which Marcial said floated the idea of a long-term partnership with the PBA.
The SBP also has notified the league that it is mulling tapping pros again for the next window of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, which could also be staged in Clark Freeport.
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