PBA to meet Palace officials to discuss start of Season 46

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that they will be meeting with Malacañang on Wednesday to present the league’s “recalibrated” plans for its new season and they are hoping they can get a clearer picture on when they can start after. — PBA IMAGES

THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to meet government officials in Malacañang on Wednesday to discuss how to go about the league’s delayed Season 46.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said he and Barangay Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua are to meet with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Bong Go to present the league’s “recalibrated” plans for its new season and hopefully, get a clearer picture on when they can start.

“We will have a meeting in Malacañang tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) and we will discuss with them different aspects of our plans for Season 46,” said Mr. Marcial in Filipino.

“Hopefully after that, maybe after a day or two, we can have a clearer picture on the direction we will take,” he added.

The PBA was supposed to kick off its Season 46 on April 18, but was forced to defer it because of the spike in coronavirus cases in the country and the consequent elevated quarantine restrictions placed over the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.

The league was eyeing the Ynares Center in Antipolo City in Rizal as a tournament venue, forcing it to abandon the planned start for the meantime because of the restrictions.

It is hoping that it gets to start by late May or in June so as it can still squeeze in its planned two-conference season, which it said is designed to give fans more basketball action amid the pandemic.

Mr. Marcial admitted that given the fluidity of the situation with the pandemic, there are a lot of challenges they have to hurdle, but they are determined to get it done.

In their meeting with Malacañang, the PBA chief said they will be banking on their performance in their successful tournament “bubble” in Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, last year in making their case for Season 46.

“Hopefully, they get to view our successful bubble last year in a good light and allow us to move forward,” he said.

While awaiting for the return of activities, the PBA is continuously working towards operating as effectively as possible during these trying times.

Among the things it is focusing on is availing vaccines for the entire league family which it describes as the “first order of the day,” seeing it as providing stability and flexibility in their return push.

It is also weighing its options on whether to go on another full bubble or if it can do a tournament under a closed-circuit setup where the participants’ movements are confined to home-gym-home.

The league is also employing a temporary salary cut of 20% to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the financials of the league.

Affected are the PBA employees, players, coaches, managers, assistant managers, and other personnel. Utility workers, however, are not included. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo