FOR NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, the PBA following the NBA lead anew and adopting a closed-circuit concept is a more viable route than holding the coming season projected to start in April under another bubble.
“Kasi ‘yung last conference, bubble model, I think it came to that because we found the NBA model was successful,” Guiao told Malaya-Business Insight, referring to how the American league restarted its last season through a controlled environment in Orlando, Florida.
The PBA followed suit with its own bubble in Pampanga for the Philippine Cup, the lone tournament salvaged from its 45th season.
“So parang instead of mag-experiment pa tayo or re-invent natin ‘yung wheel, ika nga, we will just be looking at how the NBA does it,” added Guiao.
“They have the expertise, they have the resources, so parang makakatipid ka doon sa learning curve mo, mapapaigsi mo iyung learning curve mo.”
The NBA starts its 2020-21 season on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) with the usual home-and-away games but with limited audience and the movement of players, coaching staff and other team personnel restricted to their homes or hotels (during road games) and practice and playing venues.
“I think the same thing will happen for our April tournament. Kasi ‘yung NBA hindi na sila mag-ba-bubble. What they have is closed circuit with limited audience, limited contacts of players but they are not going to be housed in a common area. Parang bahay-practice-bahay-venue lang,” added Guiao.
“Now we have a few months to observe. By March or April alam na natin kung viable ‘yung ganoon.”
Guiao knows Commissioner Willie Marcial will be foremost among those avidly watching how the NBA season progresses amid the lingering pandemic threat.
Already, Marcial has said a closed circuit concept is one of the options the PBA Board is looking at.
Under such a model, used by the league to start small group workouts last July, the players were restricted to house-gym-house movements with any variation outside that circle to be logged.
Guiao said reprising the Pampanga bubble is too costly and would ultimately take its toll on everybody’s mental health when held for three conferences.
The PBA’s 72-day stay at the Quest Hotel and practices and games at the AUF Sports Arena reportedly cost the league P65 million.
“Ang tingin ko kasi sa bubble, although it’s the safest thing to do, hindi mo siya puwedeng gawin every time,” offered Guiao.
“Una, in terms of resources and budget, malaki. At saka hindi mo puwedeng ikulong mga players ng two months every time, three times a year. Parang six months kang nakakulong.
Siguradong magkakaroon ng mental health issue doon. So in terms of respurces, logistics, mahirap siyang ulitin or repeat or sustain. Point of view of mental health tingin ko problema rin iyon.”
The NBA should also offer the PBA a cue should glitches arise.
“’Yung Plan B makikita natin practicality niyan sa NBA din,” insisted Guiao. “Magkaka-Plan B or C rin sila. Kaysa mag-isip pa tayo o mag-experiement pa tayo tingnan na lang natin kung ano gagawin nila.”