No jab, no job: PBA doubles down on strict vaccination rule
MANILA, Philippines — Veteran Magnolia center Rafi Reavis stands to lose a lot more in salaries if he decides not to get vaccinated as the Philippine Basketball Association remains firm in its stand not to let uninoculated players play in the import-flavored Governors’ Cup that starts on Wednesday.
Terrafirma guard Justin Melton, whom the Dyip acquired from the Hotshots after the Philippine Cup, is also unvaccinated and, like Reavis, has lost some pay after the league, according to commissioner Willie Marcial, ordered a no-play, no-pay policy as early as close to three weeks ago.
“That’s the rule and no one will be exempted from that,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Tuesday as he reiterated the league rule, which also stems from an order from the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Players who don’t get vaccinated are also expected not to be paid by their teams, because we circulated a memo on that,” said Marcial.
Reavis and Melton, and another player whom Marcial refused to name at the meantime, are also barred from joining their respective teams in practices.
Decision on fans
Meanwhile, Marcial is hoping that the league can get some of its fans back to the venues as early as the second week of the month as he awaits a decision from the local governments of the league’s old homes in Quezon City, Smart Araneta Coliseum’s address, and Pasay City, where the Mall of Asia Arena is located.
Christmas Day games are also being lined up for the first time since 2017 and just the second time in a tournament featuring imports.
Marcial had said on Monday that it is possible that defending champion Barangay Ginebra will play on Christmas, possibly against Magnolia, for a blockbuster matchup that has traditionally packed playing venues.
At best though, that crowd-drawing match can only fill half an arena this time, even if the league can get an approval from Quezon City or Pasay since the number of fans inside will be limited and will be seated separately from each other.
The league will retain its tested format of releasing its schedule only on Mondays after players and staff of all teams pass antigen tests.
It was applied in the last Philippine Cup won by TNT in a semi-bubble setup in Bacolor town in Pampanga.
For now with the fans still not allowed, all the games will be scheduled at Ynares Center in Pasig.