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PBA considered closed-door games amid coronavirus crisis



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Among the ideas considered by the Philippine Basketball Association in response to the current coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak was to hold its games behind closed doors.

League commissioner Willie Marcial said that the board of governors floated the option when they held an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening in Taguig City to address the situation.

“Nag-meeting kami kahapon. Tumagal siguro mga tatlo’t kalahating oras. Inano namin ‘yung two weeks, three weeks, one month, closed-door,” Marcial shared Wednesday in a presser.

Other leagues now hold games behind closed doors in light of the outbreak.

The Philippine Super Liga played without any spectators in attendance on Tuesday. Game 2 of the UAAP Boys Finals between NU-Nazareth School and FEU-Diliman did the same on Monday, which the former won.

But after thorough deliberation, the PBA board has ultimately decided to suspend its activities — including the D-League Aspirants’ Cup and the PBA 3X3 inaugurals — until further notice.

“Nakita nilang mas makakabuti na suspend muna natin ‘yung games, cancel natin ‘yung games para rin sa lahat,” said Marcial, noting that it was a unanimous decision by the board.

“Inisip din ‘yung closed door, pero sa closed door, siguro mga 300 to 400 na tao rin ang gagalaw doon. TV, officials, players, wala pa nga media doon,” added the amiable executive.

“Tiningnan lahat ng angulo kaya napagpasyahan ng board na suspended or cancel muna mga games.”

The suspension also comes along a change in the league’s schedule. Marcial said that there’s a possibility that the 45th season — which opened just last Sunday — could end in March or April.

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It was initially projected that this season would end in February 2021. The past season ended just last January.

“Iisod talaga tayo … Depende pa. Habang tumatagal, palayo pa rin tayo nang palayo,” Marcial said. “Titignan natin. Pag-uusapan namin ni Eric (Castro, deputy commissioner) at ng Board.”

The league is aware that it will suffer losses with its decision to hold off games. But Marcial said that they are not looking at such, as everyone’s welfare is the league’s utmost concern.

“Hindi na namin tinitingnan kung ano impact, kung schedule o pera. Ang iniintindi muna natin ‘yung kalagayan nating lahat. Hindi na natin tinitingnan kung ano mawawala sa amin,” he said.

“Ang mahalaga ay ‘yung safety ng lahat, sa inyo, ako, at ng mga fans natin.”