PBA fate known this week; teams keeping busy

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Willie Marcial

Whether or not the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) can relocate its games to Lipa City in Batangas province will be known within the next two days, according to commissioner Willie Marcial.

“Our proposal has been elevated to the pandemic task force’s technical working group, so a decision should be out either Thursday or Friday,” he told the Inquirer on Wednesday.

The PBA’s plan is to play the remainder of the Philippine Cup at Lipa City Sports Complex while the capital is under another extreme lockdown to help manage another surge brought on by the Delta strain of the coronavirus.

Marcial also revealed that team captains have come together and signified their utmost willingness to help the league itself.

A veteran, whom the league chief begged off from identifying, reached out to him to relay the news on Tuesday.

“He said that the players are more than willing to do whatever they can just to help us continue,” Marcial shared. “I’m truly grateful for such a gesture.”Leo Austria, San Miguel Beer’s decorated coach, confirmed this.

“I’ve heard that the players have been talking. They really want to help the league. They’re coming together, hoping to finish this for their families, the fans—for everyone,” he said.

“In anticipation of the decision, we’ve already made bookings for our practices at Aquamarine Recreational Center. That way, should we get the go-signal, we’ll just proceed with our training,” he added.

The league on Tuesday suspended the Wednesday and Thursday games to show its support for the national government’s lead-up to Friday’s hard lockdown. That prompted Austria and the Beermen to revert to virtual workout sessions—one of the workarounds devised for the new normal.

Barangay Ginebra, the defending champion, has begun doing the same, according to coach Tim Cone.

“It’s similar to how we handled the last [enhanced community quarantine],” he said. “We’re just trying to stay agile and positive as a group, ready to make any adjustments that are thrown our way.”

Understandably frustrated over the latest hitch, the two seasoned mentors, however, are optimistic that the PBA can get the ball rolling again soon. INQ

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