New PBA season to hinge on Covid-19 vaccine

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Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial has said that the availability of a vaccine for Covid-19 will help shape the 46th season of the league.

The league is planning to tip off the brand new season in April 2021 but the details have yet to be ironed out as the government’s restrictions regarding contact sports remains in effect. Marcial said that a vaccine for the dreaded virus would dictate how they would stage the new season.

"Nakalatag ang mga plano. Pero depende ang lahat sa sitwasyon at depende kung ano ang papayagan ng gobyerno. Kung may vaccine, malaking bagay yun sa atin. Kung wala pa, tignan natin," shared Marcial during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum on Tuesday.

Marcial added that he is amenable to staging another tournament inside a bubble but several factors also have to be considered. One is the immense cost after the league shelled out an estimated P75 for the 2020 Philippine Cup. Another thing officials are considering is the mental health of everyone involved in the bubble.

“Ang hirap nung bubble na ginawa. Nakita ko yung sitwasyon ng mga players. Hindi lang players, lahat ng delegates na siyempre, nung first month, nahirapan sila mag-adjust, sanay sila kasama pamilya nila. Ngayon, hindi nila makakasama. Nung na-adopt na namin yun, nagustuhan na namin, okay na. Pero nung first month, ang hirap,” Marcial said.

In lieu of a bubble format, Marcial said the league is also considering using a closed circuit format where the players, coaches and officials’ movements are restricted to going from their home to the venue and back again.

If and when the vaccine is made available, Marcial said he would be implementing a no vaccine, no play rule. (JNP)