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Marcial seeks IATF meeting as PBA hopes to have fans back for Govs’ Cup


PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial has long dreamt of seeing fans back in the stands as the COVID-19 pandemic totally changed the way sports take place.

The league has already run two conferences since the global health crisis struck last year, but there remains no audience in the venue as restrictions set by the national government do not permit mass gatherings in indoor venues.

“Simula nung nawalan tayo nung March last year, talagang iniisip natin paano maibabalik ang fans,” said the amiable executive in a guest appearance in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast, Tuesday.

“Ibang klase kasi ‘pag nandiyan ‘yung mga fans. Alam naman ninyo, nagkakaroon ng mas magandang laro ang mga players, maganda ang kantiyawan sa loob ng venue. Matagal ko nang pinapangarap ‘to,” he added.

Marcial might just see that turn into reality, though. Last week, the authorities decided to downgrade Metro Manila’s quarantine classification to Alert Level 2, the second-lowest in the five-tier alert level system, until November 21.

Such a development has also allowed the PBA to play the season-ending Governors’ Cup in the capital – in Pasig, in particular. Moreoever, the league chief hopes that sooner, an audience will be permitted to watch live.

With that, his office is looking for a suitable time to convene with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to tackle that particular matter.

“Gagawa na ako ng letter this week at nakikipag-cooperate na rin ako sa ibang taga-IATF kung kailan pwede makipag-meeting,” he said.

“Makikipag-usap ako kung ilang percentage ang pupwede; kung gaano kalayo ang seating arrangement nila; kung ano pupwede, ano mga protocols, ano mga disinfection at mga safety and protection na kailangan natin,” he added.

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Marcial also shared that he plans to bring with him the renowned Dr. George Canlas, who has been tapped by the league as its medical consultant, in that meeting for the discussion of health and safety protocols.

“At baka isama ko rin si Dr. Canlas para sa protocols. Kasi iba na naman ‘to – okay ba kayo sa dati, or pwedeng bawasan? O pwedeng dagdagan? So ‘yun ang mga tinitingnan natin,” he explained.

While the league awaits the Task Force, Marcial shared that he will meet with his team regarding ticket prices. This, should they receive permission to welcome back the fans in the next conference, which they target to open on November 28.

The management committee will discuss promos and, possibly, free passes to the games, said the 60-year-old.

He also hinted that there could be Christmas Day games this year, something that the league hasn’t done since 2017. There, Barangay Ginebra defeated Magnolia in a Clasico affair at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

“May meeting nga kami mamaya with the mancom, pag-uusapan namin kung magkano ticket prices,” he said. “Pag-uusapan namin ang mga promos, pag-uusapan namin kung kailan libre sa mga fans.

“Sigurado papayagan ng Board, lalo si Chairman [Ricky Vargas], sa Pasko siguradong may laro tayo. So bibigyan natin ng mga promos at libreng tickets ‘yung mga fans kung papayagan tayo ng IATF.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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