Pocket tournament eyed to fill PBA break as Gilas prepares for World Cup
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) leadership has elected to hold a pocket tournament in 2023 when the league goes on a long break for the sake of the World Cup-bound National Team.
Commissioner Willie Marcial told reporters in a short chat Saturday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City that the league is looking to keep the players busy through a showcase that is projected to run either in June or July next year and will play out for at least weeks before the global showcase here in August.
“We’re doing this to give back to the owners. (Remember) we hardly had games during the Covid (outbreak), and now we’re going to be on break for four months,” the league chief pointed out.
The games of the said mini tournament will be televised like the PBA’s regular season games and could also be staged outside of Luzon. The showcase could also be opened to visiting nations who plan to camp in the country ahead of the World Cup.
The move will plug a gap in the PBA’s shortened 2023 calendar, which was adjusted back on July 28 to make way for Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the global contest.
Marcial said that the league is also mulling compressing its season-ending Governors’ Cup to also afford the national cage program more training time for the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, where the Philippines is looking to reclaim the gold medal in the men’s basketball tournament.
“We’re projected to finish (the third conference) by May 10. The SEA Games will run from May 5 to 17. So we might finish the tournament earlier. We may hold games again on Thursdays or stage triple headers to allow Gilas to practice before they go to (Cambodia),” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner said the PBA is on pace to play on Christmas Day for the second straight time, and on Dec. 28 to make up for the scrubbed games earlier in this conference.
“December 25 is either Game 6 or 7 of the semifinals or Game 1 or 2 of the (championship series). For December 28, we’re doing that to make up for the postponements,” Marcial said.