Apr 22, 2021

Two-conference format still possible for PBA 46th season

THE PBA remains hopeful a two-conference format is still feasible for its 46th season.

Board Vice Chairman Bobby Rosales and Commissioner Willie Marcial both expressed optimism the league is capable of holding two conferences this year provided the season gets to start sometime in June.

Anything later than that poses a greater risk of having just another single conference for a second straight season.

Last year, Asia's first ever play-for-pay league only managed to stage the Philippine Cup inside the Clark bubble from October to December.

"If we're able to start by June, we might still be able to do two conferences. But any date later than June, it becomes more difficult to hold two
conferences," said Rosales, the Terrafirma governor who represents the franchise in the league Board.
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Marcial said a June kickoff meant the season could stretch to as late as a February finish, something it can still accommodate.

"Pero kung later part na kasi (mag open), aabot na tayo ng March or April. So sana maayos tayo ng June," said the commissioner.

The PBA initially planned to hold the Philippine Cup and Governors' Cup this year as it eyed a mid-April opening under a closed-circuit system, with the Ynares Center in Antipolo as the main venue of the games.

The all-Filipino conference is set for a four-month period, while the import-laden tournament has been scheduled for six months.

But everything on the drawing board had to be put in the backburner when the National Capital Region (NRC) and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal, which covers Antipolo, was put under a quarantine lockdown for about a month.
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At the same time, even if the league gets to hold a two-conference season, everything also depends on whether imports will be allowed to travel to the country for the import-reinforced tournament.

"Madaming nitty-gritty. So tignan natin habang umaandar tayo, makikita naman natin kung ano ang maganda para sa PBA," said Marcial.

At the moment, the league is looking at the direction of having the entire PBA family inoculated for COVID-19 before finally opening the new season. (RG)