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PBA remains hopeful that import-laden conference will still push thru

Is it feasible for the PBA to stage a season with two conferences?

That is now the big question, given the COVID-19 situation in the country. Nonetheless, Commissioner Willie Marcial remains optimistic that the league will be able to push through with its plans this year.

“Mga June, or early June, kaya pa natin two conferences,” he said in a virtual press conference Tuesday. “Kasi pwede tayo umabot hanggang Feb. Pero kung later part na, aabutin tayo ng March or April.

“So sana, maayos tayo by June or hopefully itong last week ng May.”

The league initially planned to stage a 10-month long season with two conferences, taking place in a closed-circuit set-up. The Ynares Center in Antipolo was one possible venue. The league also targeted an April 18 opening.

But a resurgence in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks has badly affected those plans. Metro Manila and its nearby provinces, including Rizal, have been placed under stricter community quarantine measures.

Now, the league’s hopes of playing this year are practically hinged on vaccines. It plans to have the entire PBA — from the players down to its personnel — given with the anti-virus shots before plunging into action.

The league has its fingers crossed that it could get vaccines by May or June. And if that is met, then the possibility of staging both the Philippine Cup and the import-flavored Governors’ Cup remains very much alive.

“As you’ve read in the papers, they’re scheduled to arrive starting May,” said Vice Chairman Bobby Rosales. “So if they will arrive in May, then that’s the earliest also we can get the PBA family vaccinated.

“It will take a month before the dosage can become effective. So we’re looking really at June as the earliest. And I think if we’re able to start by June, we might still be able to do two conferences,” added the Terrafirma governor.

“But any date later than June, it becomes more difficult to hold two conferences.”

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Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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