When Barangay Ginebra won the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup last December, Tim Cone had said that he doesn’t want anyone to go through the anguish of playing inside a bubble.
Four months later, it seems that a bubble set-up is the only way for the league to push through.
The entire National Capital Region and its surrounding provinces have experienced more COVID-19 cases than last year. It has forced sports to once again stop, as the only league playing right now is upstart pro league Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, which is taking place inside a bubble in Alcantara, Cebu.
“The bottom line is it’s for all of us in the PBA, for me especially.
“I just think that we want to get back to work and start playing again That’s our passion and that’s our love. This is terrible, sitting at home and not meeting with the guys and go play,” he told The Chasedown.
In the only PBA conference played last season, the entire league contingent was locked in a bubble in Pampanga. Everyone resided in Quest Hotel in Clark, while playing the games at the AUF Sports & Cultural Center.
Ginebra and Finals foil TNT — as well as the league’s staff, hotel operations, and media men — went the full distance. And Cone admitted that it felt mentally taxing since they were away from their respective families amid a pandemic.
“The last bubble was difficult, no doubt about it — it was mentally wearing.
“I hate being away from the family, but we have to do whatever it takes to get back to playing. As difficult as it might be, we certainly welcome the chance of getting back to the bubble,” he shared.
The PBA Board will meet next week to discuss their plans for the league’s 46th season — and most importantly, its finances.
One bubble conference cost the PBA P67-million. And many say that it was actually more than that.
And so for Cone, a bubble should be the last resort for the league.
“Whether it’s financially feasible for the PBA to do that again, I don’t know. I’m not privy to that because I’m not on the board.
“From what I heard, it was really a difficult project to put together. I think the coaches, players — I think they’ll welcome going back to the bubble if that’s the only recourse we have to start playing again,” he said.