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PBA mulls freeze extension

/ 05:10 AM January 06, 2022

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is mulling to extend its suspension of the season-ending Governors’ Cup amid the uptick in new COVID-19 cases, the Inquirer learned on Wednesday.

“It’s something that we’re considering in light of recent events,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said over the phone, on the heels of the Department of Health’s announcement that the national tally for new COVID infections has shot up to a staggering 10,775 cases—nearly twice as much as Tuesday’s figures.

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The league chief went on to add that the PBA will release an official statement on Thursday detailing its plans for the coming weeks. He begged off from sharing any more information.

The league has put on hold this week’s schedule as it continues to seek advice from the Games and Amusements Board and several local government units after the national government placed Metro Manila under the stricter alert level 3 yet again.

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It could be recalled that the league was able to open its 46th season in Pasig City on the condition that it does so using a closed-circuit setup. A surge in cases brought on by the contagious Delta variant caused stoppage around July, prompting the league to scout for a new site. It found a new home in Pampanga province, this time in Bacolor town, playing the remainder of its Philippine Cup in Don Honorio Ventura State University where TNT was crowned new rulers of the centerpiece tournament.

Fans welcomed back

The PBA went on to open its Governors’ Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City using the same, spectator-free setup. A total of 10 matches were played there before the games returned to Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City where the league also welcomed back fans for the first time since the pandemic shuttered public events back in March 2020.

As things stand, Philippine Cup bridesmaid Magnolia leads the race with a 3-0 record, followed by Meralco, which swept its first two assignments before plunging into the Yuletide break.

NLEX has since dropped to No. 3 after absorbing its first loss in five meetings. Close by is champion Barangay Ginebra which is currently sporting a 3-1 card.

Meralco reinforcement Tony Bishop Jr. currently leads the imports cast in scoring averaging 32 points per game. NorthPort ace Robert Bolick, meanwhile, leads the locals with 20.5 a night.

A total of 26 Governors’ Cup matches have been played. The PBA was even setting up duels at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, which would have become another milestone for the pro league that continues to forge ahead in this pandemic.

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