PBA turns down Dubai Expo 2020 invite
MANILA, Philippines—The PBA decided to beg off from the Dubai Expo 2020 as the league is still reeling from the effects of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.
League Commissioner Willie Marcial expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the international trade exhibition but admitted that sending teams to Dubai amidst the health crisis in the Philippines was an impossible undertaking.
The 2021-22 Governors’ Cup was already nearing its midway point when the government put Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 effectively halting all contact sports in the region.
Kevin Brown, planning and management vice president, master calendar-events and entertainment of Expo 2020, extended the invitation to the PBA.
The games were originally set for January 27 to 30 at Expo Sports Arena while the whole Dubai Expo 2020, a trade fair featuring innovations and products from different countries, started on October 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022.
Expo 2020 was also pushed to its current date after the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone the international fair from its original schedule of October 20, 2020 to April 2021.
There was even a second invitation extended to the PBA for games in late March but the PBA doesn’t see it fit to play in Dubai around that time.
The PBA is no stranger to Dubai as it held two games of the 2019 Governors’ Cup at Coca-Cola Arena featuring NLEX, Barangay Ginebra, and San Miguel.
Coca-Cola Arena was even considered as a potential bubble destination for the 2020 Philippine Cup but the PBA axed the plan due to time constraints.