Mendoza: PBA swims on virtually unscathed

Al Mendoza

IT IS losing P1 million a day or P30 million a month. An entity of less sterner stuff would have raised the flag of surrender. Easily.

But, hey, not the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Like Noah’s ark, the league isn’t about to sink. And it must thank God for being still alive and kicking, so to speak. Tough as nails, indeed.

Earnings compiled through its nearly half a century of existence—at times surpassing predictions in several productive seasons—proved beneficial for the PBA amid the virus’s voracious intent to decapitate a world gruesomely reeling from the pandemic.

How many corporations have closed shop in our country alone due to operations shuttered by the virus that loves to attack crowds? Is it 200, 300? Hurt most are hotels, restaurants, movie houses, transport modes and places of escapade.

And isn’t the PBA also a surefire crowd drawer, its games easy magnets like lights to moths?

“We are really hit hard,” PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that went online for the second straight week on Tuesday. “I can conservatively say that we are losing some P30 million a month.”

The league, in accordance with pandemic rules on health concerns, closed its doors after only one game of the 45th season on March 8, with San Miguel Beer beating Magnolia 94-78 minus the injured Beerman June Mar Fajardo at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Since then, the league’s revenues have suffered from the absence of gate receipts, sponsorships and television broadcast profits, which Marcial sums up to “easily P1 million lost every day.”

But Marcial said the PBA’s reserves are keeping the league afloat.

“Good thing we have savings,” said Marcial.

That validates the PBA’s stature as a well-run sports entity since its birth in April 1975, its founders’ due diligence in putting the ship on even keel observed to the hilt when the going got tough.

Thus, whether there’s only one conference held or none at all this year, I say the PBA will swim on—and weather the storm virtually unscathed.