Things looking good for PBA season opening

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Willie Marcial

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is taking another step towards having a semblance of normalcy with the 46th Season to open on Friday, and commissioner Willie Marcial is bracing for a hectic week ahead.

The league chief is set to meet with his staff to review their health protocols and iron out logistical kinks—if there are any—ahead of the Philippine Cup in Pasig City.

“Some of my staffers are already at Ynares [Sports Arena] as we speak,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday.

“We are hoping to tackle the nitty-gritty of our protocols. And then by Tuesday, the entire PBA delegation will be going through a [COVID-19] test,” he added.

All 12 ball clubs are also expected to turn in their final rosters for the Philippine Cup this Monday, according to the commissioner.

The league will employ a closed-circuit setup for the Philippine Cup, which means players, coaches, all team personnel, and league staffers, including a number of journalists, are encouraged to keep their stops to just two points: the venue and their respective homes.

Two-conference format

A 10-day cycle is also put in place to ensure the delegation is virus-free over the course of the conference, which is projected to run until October.

The commissioner is hoping to stage two conferences this year, with the latter hopefully featuring foreign reinforcements as the season has been penciled to last until late January next year.

Marcial said he is also hoping that the additional amenities within Ynares Sports Arena are near completion.

“We’ll check on the progress of our makeshift dugouts as well,” he said.

Also on Marcial’s to-do list is to secure permission to hold preseason games outside the capital.

The Inquirer reported on Sunday that the PBA is expecting to sit down with government officials this week to discuss whether tune-up games in low-risk areas are possible.

This, as coaches underscored the need to gauge their teams for the battles ahead.

“We really don’t know where we stand as far as the other teams [are concerned],” Meralco coach Norman Black said.

“I’m in favor of having tune-up games to at least gauge our team heading into the opening of the season,” said Phoenix Super LPG mentor Topex Robinson. INQ

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