The PBA is now looking to open Season 46 either by late June or early July after missing out on its initial plan to get back into action last April.
In a report by the league’s official website Friday, Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the new target date will be after the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers’ third window, which takes place on June 16-20 in Clark, Pampanga.
“The new target date (for the season opener) is after the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier,” the fourth-year league chief said.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will host 13 games of the said meet that will feature 10 teams — namely Gilas Pilipinas, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Guam, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.
The Qualifiers will take place in a bubble set-up, with matches at the AUF Sports & Cultural Center. The team will stay at the Quest Hotel — similar to the PBA’s Philippine Cup bubble last year.
And so by the time the ACQ finishes, all the league’s 12 member teams should have spent about a month gearing up for the season.
The ball clubs, at present, are now busy training after returning to practice earlier this week. Nine teams are in Batangas, while the three MVP teams — TNT, Meralco, and NLEX — are up north in Ilocos Norte and Clark.
Also according to the report, league officials said that the season can still accommodate two conferences despite the two-month delay in the opener. The PBA is keen on staging two tilts this 2021 after playing only one last year.
Marcial, Chairman Ricky Vargas, and the rest of the board will convene anew on Thursday to tackle the season’s inaugurals and other issues.