D-League called off for good

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    AFTER staging just eight games and being mothballed for six months, there will be no more PBA D-League, at least this year.

    With the PBA preparing for the Philippine Cup bubble in Clark and amateurs and collegiate squads still not allowed to train and play, Commissioner Willie Marcial announced the D-League season has been called off for good last Tuesday.

    “Mahirap para sa atin kasi karamihan ng players, amateurs. And then of course, majority ng kasali this conference ay collegiate teams at hindi pa sila pinapayagan ng gobyerno na makabalik kahit sa practice o scrimmage pa lang,” Marcial said. “Next year na ulit iyong D-League natin,” he added.

    The drastically disrupted season-opening Aspirant’s Cup was suspended indefinitely since March 11 at the start of the government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of the lethal coronavirus.

    Lone club team Marinerong Pilipino, along with Builders Warehouse-University of Santo Tomas and EcoOil-La Salle, were holding 2-0 records when action was halted.

    It did not help that 11 squads in the 12-team field are school-based teams.

    Marcial said teams that were part of the cancelled tourney who will choose to join next season are already assured of their slots.

    “Kasama na sila doon sa 12 teams. Sigurado na sila na kasali kapag bumalik iyong D-League,” explained Marcial. “Parang naka-deposit sa amin iyong participation fee nila.”

    The league also refunded the participation fees of squads who were affected by the economic crunch inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically Technological Institute of the Philippines, which disbanded its athletics program last May.

    “Actually, nakuha na nga ng TIP iyong refund. Naibalik na ng PBA sa kanila,” said Marcial.

    Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro said the D-League will be back in action soon.

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