It looks like Pasay is welcoming the PBA with open arms.
Though nothing is set in stone yet, Commissioner Willie Marcial remains optimistic about the league’s chances of securing the nod of the local government unit (LGU) in bringing the games back to the city – along with a live audience.
“Sa akin, mukhang okay — positive,” he told Tiebreaker Times. “Wala pa sa atin ‘yung letter, pero sabi naman nila, according kay Mayor [Emi Calixto-Rubiano], gusto talaga nila matulungan ang PBA at ‘yung ibang negosyo.”
The amiable executive and his office met with Pasay’s consultative body led by Atty. Aireen Sison-Madrona and Atty. Peter Pardo on Wednesday, a week before the scheduled opening of the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
They met with officials and heads of various departments of the city. In attendance as well was a representative of the Mall of Asia Arena, which is among the venues being targeted by the league to play its games.
Mainly discussed in the virtual meeting were health and safety protocols, as well as, of course, the plans of having the fans again. The league has been playing with no crowds for two conferences now due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Tinanong nila ilang capacity, kung ano ‘yung mga protocols natin, ‘yung tickets papaano, kung paano papasok,” shared Marcial. “Maayos naman, maganda. Tingnan natin kung anong ire-rekomenda nila kay Mayor.”
The PBA last played at the MoA Arena back in January 2020, or since Barangay Ginebra San Miguel finished off rivals Meralco in Game Five of the Governors’ Cup Finals to rule the conference for the third time in four years.
Due to the health crisis, however, the league wasn’t able to return there and to its usual venues such as the SMART Araneta Coliseum. It had to play in bubble environments to ensure the safety of all involved.
The games, though, have found their way back to the metro, with the league set to open the new conference at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig — the very same venue where the 3×3 inaugurals are currently being held.
Marcial said that his office is still waiting for the Pasig City LGU’s call to sit down anew and discuss the fans’ entry at the YSA.