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'Bubble' eyed for resumption of PBA season

August 26, 2020 - Wednesday 5:08 PM by PNA

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MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is considering a bubble option just for its 45th season to finally resume amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas said he believes the bubble is the only way for the league to push through with all of its remaining games after a long delay caused by the quarantine measures imposed to contain the outbreak.

"My own feeling as chairman is that we do not have a choice. May model na eh (A model already exists). The model is the NBA (National Basketball Association). We should just go ahead and look forward to the time na maglalaro na tayo (when we could already play), whether it's the NBA way or a more innovative way," Vargas said during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

Vargas named three potential venues for the PBA bubble.

"We're looking into Inspire (Sports Academy), yung sa NU (National University) sa (the one in NU) Calamba, and Araneta (Coliseum) kasi may mga hotels naman (because there are some hotels) beside that. We're even looking to as far as Clark," he said.

Vargas bared that his team, TNT, would hold its practices inside Inspire in a bubble format.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial disclosed two more possible venues for the PBA bubble.

"Kahapon, pinagalaw ko na si Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro. Nagtanong na kami sa mga lugar tulad ng Batangas at Subic (Yesterday, I asked Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro to inquire about places in Batangas and Subic)," Marcial said.

He specified that the league is looking at an undisclosed school in Batangas and a golf course in Subic as possible venues.

Only Subic, a metropolitan area in Zambales, and Clark, a metropolitan area in Pampanga that has been stretched to Capas, Tarlac through the New Clark City complex, are under the most lenient Covid-19 quarantine, the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Actual professional games are allowed in MGCQ areas, according to the Games and Amusements Board.

The other three venues are in areas under the regular GCQ.

The NBA bubble currently taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando is effective so far in keeping the players away from Covid-19 as no one has tested positive for the illness since its start last month, even though some players departed the bubble for personal reasons but returned quickly.

Three other local leagues, the Philippines Football League, the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3, and the National Basketball League, have already made known their intention to hold bubbles for their respective seasons.

Interestingly enough, Chooks 3x3 announced last month that it would hold a season bubble as well at Inspire, which could pose an arena conflict with the PBA should it ultimately decide to hold a bubble there too.

The PBA board will convene sometime in September to determine if the season would push through by mid-October or not. Ivan Stewart Saldajeno