Will the fans be allowed to watch live?
That’s a question some have been wondering about when the PBA on Monday announced that it is looking to continue the 2021-22 Governors’ Cup by the first week of February, pending of course the approval of authorities.
Well, the league welcomed the audience back when it returned to the SMART Araneta Coliseum last December 15. It had since enjoyed some sense of normalcy after playing in empty arenas in the last two conferences.
The Christmas games at the Big Dome saw Phoenix Super LPG deal NLEX its first loss of the conference before Magnolia waylaid Ginebra by 23 points in another Manila Clasico chapter, drawing a crowd of 4,843.
But just as when the league thought that everything is turning out well, another surge in coronavirus cases before the New Year forced the government to place Metro Manila under the stricter Alert Level 3.
The PBA voluntarily stopped the Governors’ Cup, which was supposed to resume last January 5. The league initially said that the tilt will be postponed for a week, but eventually decided to pause play until further notice.
Asked about that matter, Commissioner Willie Marcial admitted that having the fans in the venues once more isn’t on top of the league’s priorities right now. All that they’re really after is for the games to resume first.
“Sa akin, maglaro muna tayo,” he told Tiebreaker Times.
The amiable executive, though, was quick to add that it will be discussed within the board once the ball gets rolling for the season resumption. After all, paying before a live crowd is something that the league has always wanted.
Crucial as well will be the take of the local government units and the venues which the league looks to play in. The league has been in talks with Araneta, Mall of Asia Arena, and even the Ynares Center in Antipolo, said Marcial.
“‘Pag naka-resume, tsaka natin tingnan kung ano sasabihin sa atin,” said the fifth-year league chief. “Siguro in a couple of weeks, baka pwede na ‘yung fans. Pero as of now, wala.
“Ang inaayos ko muna, makalaro tayo.”