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PBA suspends games, practices until further notice

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has temporarily suspended all its activities until such time the current coronavirus surge eases.

The league’s Commissioner’s Office came up with the tough decision with the approval of the Board of Governors in their special meeting Wednesday as the league gets beset by the health crisis anew.

“Yung health and safety talaga ng lahat ang important,” commissioner Willie Marcial said.

“Mahirap na, we can’t put the people under our care at risk, ganon din ‘yung mga makakasalamuha nila. Mabuti na ‘yung nag-iingat.”

The announcement came a day after the Department of Health said that cases shot up to 10,755 — the highest single-day spike since October 10.

Such a surge began before the New Year, which prompted the authorities to place Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from January 3-16. The PBA subsequently postponed its Governors’ Cup games from January 5-9.

And now, matches have been put on hold until further notice, a situation so similar to the ones the league faced in the previous two conferences.

“It’s always a painful decision to postpone PBA games,” lamented league chairman Ricky Vargas in a statement.

“But at this time when the infection rate is rising, the risk of continuing with the games for our players, officials, and staff far outweigh our financial loss and the teams’ increased cost,” added the TNT governor.

“The PBA will be back. It’s just a temporary pause to allow healing. This way, we can assure our fans the quality of games will be sustained.”

The league has also suspended all team scrimmages, even though the government allows such to be held in Alert Level 2 areas. Ball clubs have reverted to per-batch workouts once again.

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However, the number of individuals participating in those sessions has been reduced by the league from 10 to seven. Now, only four players will be allowed to train with one coach, one safety officer and one staffer.

This postponement will surely affect the import situation of some teams that are in the process of bringing in either a replacement or backup reinforcements, such as San Miguel Beer, NorthPort, Phoenix Super LPG, and Blackwater.

Hit by the development as well is the PBA 3×3 inaugurals, which was supposed to raise the curtains of its second conference on January 8.

The weeks ahead will surely be crucial as it will dictate the direction the league has to take for its season resumption, whether or not it will return to another bubble like what it has done in the last two Philippine Cup meets.

Last Tuesday, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) sent out an announcement to reiterate that professional leagues like the PBA can only resume under a full bubble modality under Alert Level 3.

Written By

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

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