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PBA players choose bubble setup over closed-circuit



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PBA players have suggested removing the closed-circuit concept among the options for the league for the resumption of its 45th season interrupted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the players prefer a bubble set-up rather than the model currently used in practices, where players, coaches, and staff follow the home-gym-home routine.

“Tatanggalin na ‘yung closed-circuit (concept). ‘Yung home to gym. Gusto talaga nila, bubble,” he told Tiebreaker Times on Wednesday, moments after meeting with the players at the league’s office in Libis.

Marcial said that he will relay the players’ suggestion to the board when they convene on Thursday. There, they will then determine which concept the league will adopt for its planned season restart.

Among the options is the bubble a la NBA, where the participants are quartered in a closed venue to minimize the risk of infection. There’s also the semi-bubble (hotel-shuttle-venue-hotel) set-up.

The bubble could be hosted here in Metro Manila or outside of the capital. The board already has three locations on its list, and can simply choose a venue in its upcoming meeting.

Twenty entities have earlier expressed intent of hosting the bubble, four of which made presentations to the board last Friday — Lio Villas Resort in El Nido; Marriott Hotel in Pasay; Pontefino Hotel in Batangas; and Clark.

“Pinresent ko ‘yung tatlong bubble, pinapatanggal nila ‘yung isa, sasabihin ko sa board bukas,” he said. “Bubble na mala-NBA, o semi-bubble, ‘yun ang gusto nila, ‘yun ang sasabihin ko sa board.”

This is the second time in three months that Marcial has hosted a meeting with the players. The first one happened in June, when he sought their side on the league’s plans to return to practice.

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“Well-attended ang meeting,” said Marcial as players from the 12 teams came. “At walang nagsabi na walang gusto maglaro. Walang nagtanong na, ‘Comm papano kung ayaw maglaro ‘yung player?’ So ibig sabihin, go lahat sila.”