Sep 17, 2020

PBA on with season bubble restart in Clark

Even with fans limited to watch the games on TV, the PBA is all set to return with a bang, holding a bubble setup in Clark in Angeles, Pampanga.

Though still awaiting the government's official nod, the pro hoop has scheduled its Season 45 Philippine Cup restart on Oct. 9 at the AUF Gym, with the compact tourney running for two months.

Prior to the tournament proper, the 12 teams will be shuttled to Clark to start scrimmages on Sept. 26.

"We're ready and we're excited," said PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas, optimistic there would be no hitches that would derail the league's return plan.

"If we can start tomorrow, we would start tomorrow. The Commissioner's Office has done a good job with the plans, and they're ready to execute as soon as we're given the go-signal," added Vargas of the plan finalized in cooperation with key Clark officials.

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Bases Conversion Development Authority CEO Vince Dizon and Clark Development Corp. president Noel Manakil played key roles.

"The PBA is ready and all its teams are ready. We're just awaiting the go-signal of the IATF. This is our modest contribution to the country to entertain the Filipino people for at least the next two months," said vice chairman Bobby Rosales.

PBA officials stressed the league is doing its part to be of help to the country amidst pandemic.

"Let's go on with this. This is something good not just for the PBA but for the Filipinos who love basketball," said Vargas.

For two months, the PBA will be locked in Clark (Quest Hotel) just like the NBA in its bubble concept in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

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"Yung mga players mismo ang nag-request ng bubble setup. Ayaw nila ng closed circuit model na ginagawa nila sa ngayon," said commissioner Willie Marcial of the players' thoughts during their dialogue Wednesday.

The Commissioner's Office hasn't heard of any player wishing not to be in the Clark journey.

"Kapag lumabas sila, wala silang sweldo for a month, may fine sila ng 100k sa PBA at suspended sila for five games in the next season," said Marcial

According to Marcial the season resumption will be played everyday with a double-header schedule. (SB)