‘Wait for the COVID-19 vaccine first.’
That is the approach the PBA is taking regarding its participation in the rebooted East Asia Super League, which is expected to start in October this year.
“Naka-hold muna ‘yung decision to join hangga’t walang vaccine,” Commissioner Willie Marcial said after the league’s board meeting Thursday.
The EASL has been urging the league to take part in the tilt that also features top ball clubs from China, Japan, and Korea, being Asia’s first pro league.
But the organization fully understands the PBA’s decision.
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“EASL supports Philippines’ battle against the virus, and looks forward to continuing in good faith discussions with the PBA,” EASL said in a statement.
Marcial, though, clarified that talks with EASL through its CEO Matt Beyer will continue once vaccine distribution in the country becomes clearer.
“Hindi namin kino-close ‘yung door,” said the fourth-year league chief.
“So hihintayin lang muna natin ‘yung vaccine.”
The PBA has played in EASL-organized meets in the past, including the 2019 Terrific 12 in Macau where San Miguel, TNT, and Blackwater saw action.
However, the upcoming tournament features a different format. This time, it will be a home-and-away tournament and will run for five months.
A US$1-million prize awaits the champion.