Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial has announced that the 10th season of the PBA D-League will not be returning any more this year and is deemed cancelled.
"Next year na ulit yung D-League natin (We’ll have the D-League next year)," Marcial announced during a virtual press conference on Tuesday afternoon, September 29, 2020.
Only eight games during three playdates were played during Aspirants Cup before it was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Builders Warehouse-University of Santo Tomas, EcoOil-La Salle, and Marinerong Pilipino all showed their dominance during that stretch with 2-0 win-loss records.
The decision came after the the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases only gave the green light to return to practice to professional teams.
Another factor that played a huge part in the decision was the fact that 11 of the 12 teams in the D-League were all school-based.
"Mahirap para sa atin kasi karamihan ng players, amateurs eh. And then of course, majority ng kasali this conference ay collegiate teams at hindi pa sila pinapayagan ng gobyerno na makabalik kahit sa practice o scrimmage pa lang," Marcial explained.
Only Marinerong Pilipino was considered as a club team in the field, but even then, most of its core led by siblings Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, are all still amateurs.
PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro underscored the importance of the D-League in the players’ development and is hopeful it can return soon.
"The PBA D-League is there to serve as a springboard for our amateur players to get the necessary exposure they need before they make the jump to the PBA, and it's a testament, too, that collegiate teams have taken advantage of the heightened competition we have in preparation for their mother leagues. So we're all wishing for everything to go back to normal so that we can stage D-League tournaments again," said Castro. (JNP)