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PBA submits to IATF proposal to begin scrimmages

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PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed that his office has already submitted its letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) requesting for its ball clubs to move from per-batch practices to scrimmages.

“Nagbigay na po kami ng sulat sa Task Force,” he said in an online presser hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission on Monday, regarding varsity teams’ return to practice for which pro leagues will help craft the guidelines.

PBA teams returned to workouts in strict compliance with health protocols last August 25. Now, the league plans to shift into higher gear by holding full-contact practices by next week.

Should it gain approval, then the league would bid for the resumption of its 45th season that has been suspended since March, when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) began to wreak havoc in the country.

The PBA is targeting an October return even with a short tournament to salvage its season, but the hierarchy of Asia’s pioneering pro league has yet to determine on how they will make it happen.

The league is looking into a bubble setup, which Chairman Ricky Vargas is batting for given the NBA’s success with its own bubble at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Marcial said that the board of governors is set to convene this Friday to discuss which model for the league’s planned return to action, whether the bubble a la NBA or other options.

“May meeting po ang board of governors sa Friday, idi-discuss kung anong klaseng bubble — kung bubble katulad ng NBA, or bubble katulad ng Bundesliga. So pag-uusapan po namin,” he said.

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Among the locations which the league is looking to hold its own bubble are the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, which has the Novotel right beside it; Clark, Pampanga; Subic, Zambales; Laguna; and Batangas,

The amiable executive, though, shared that around 16-17 hotels have already expressed their interest to host the PBA’s bubble.

“May mga labing-anim na ata o labing-pitong hotels na nagbigay po sa atin ng proposal na gusto nilang matuloy ang sports at para matulungan din po natin ang turismo,” said the third-year commissioner.

“Sana po mapagbigyan tayo ng Task Force.”

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