Will it be the closed-circuit concept next PBA season?
Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the league may likely adopt that model for Season 46 – with a target start of April next year – similar to the set-up used by all 12 ball clubs when they returned to practice last August.
“If a vaccine is not yet available, we’ll likely go for closed-circuit which we had implemented in our return to practices prior to the Clark bubble tourney,” the amiable executive told PBA.ph.
The league recently capped off Season 45, held in a semi-bubble at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. The two-month-long tournament was a success, although it entailed a whopping P 65 million pesos.
Moreover, everyone involved – from the players, the coaches, the league’s staff, the media, and the TV production crew – sacrificed tremendously, as they all stayed inside the safe zone for that long.
And along with the sacrifice came the struggles, especially mentally, something that concerned Marcial. “Mahirap. Nakita ko na nahirapan ang mga players, lalo na noong first months,” he said.
Thus the exploration of another model to hold Season 46.
“Closed-circuit concept is a lot more lenient, requiring a home-venue-home scheme; not lockdown in one place for the entire delegation as what we did in Clark,” he explained.
Marcial has said that everything will be much easier if a vaccine for COVID-19 will be available by April. He also noted that it might even allow the league to welcome back fans in the stands – which it missed in the bubble.
“Malaking bagay sa atin ‘yung vaccine. Baka hindi lang matuloy ‘yung PBA na hindi na bubble, baka may makapanood pa sa’tin. Sana magtuloy-tuloy,” said the third-year league chief.
But while they wait for the shots against the dreaded virus continues, the league will still implement strict health measures in compliance with the government’s guidelines to assure the safety of everyone.
“We’ll be observing a wait-and-see attitude,” said Marcial.