It’s down to Clark, Batangas, Araneta

    The Araneta Colesium. (Photo from AC FB)

    THE last time the PBA Board convened, the meeting dragged on for hours.

    No such marathon is expected today when the governors assemble anew to decide whether to conduct the season resumption in one province or stay right in its old home foremost in the agenda.

    Also to be finalized is the type of bubble to be implemented amidst the lingering pandemic threat and the necessary changes in the tournament format.

    “Where” is the biggest question that needs immediate answer as it will decide whether the PBA would use the NBA-style bubble or a semi-quarantine hotel-venue-hotel concept.

    The governors are set to pick among the three remaining candidates, which they arrived at in a meeting last Friday that was stretched further by a two-hour-long brownout.

    “Siguro naman hindi na kasing-tagal dati. Tatlo na lang itong nasa mesa,” Commissioner Willie Marcial said.

    Marcial and some governors declined to identify the last three bidders still standing from an original list of 20.

    However, a Malaya-Business Insight source was more willing to oblige.

    “Clark and Batangas are there, but so is (Smart) Araneta (Coliseum),” claimed the source.

    “Each has some things going for it,” added the source. “Each is a controlled environment and the PBA’s strict health and safety regulations would be easily enforced. Also, their facilities could be easily kept safe for the exclusive use of the PBA.”

    Angeles University Foundation gym

    The source added the PBA contingent could stay at a hotel inside the Clark Freeport Zone and play its games at the Angeles University Foundation gym, where official league games have been played before.

    Batangas City Coliseum

    The same concept would be used in Batangas City, where the playing venue would be the Batangas City Coliseum while housing would be at the posh Pontefino Hotel.

    “Parehong semi-quarantine concept mangyayari,” said the source. “All will be housed in one hotel and wala namang problema sa safety kahit magkakasabay pupunta ng (playing) venue dahil everybody would have been tested already.”

    But Smart Araneta Coliseum remains a strong contender since it has the adjacent Novotel Manila Hotel to accommodate the PBA contingent.

    “Kapag sa Araneta, ibig sabihin NBA-style bubble,” said the source.

    “But the biggest factor should be the cost to the teams or PBA each site would entail.”

    Whatever the Board’s decision, the PBA hopes to do full-contact scrimmages by next week and play out its remaining Philippine Cup schedule starting next month with the hopes of finishing by mid-December.

    Those moves, however, are dependent on whether it would be allowed to do so by the IATF.

    Marcial has already written the IATF a letter two Mondays ago for the pro players to escalate from the individual conditioning workouts they have been doing since Aug. 25 to full-contact scrimmages.