PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday said conducting a tournament in a bubble like the last Philippine Cup remains an option due to the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
“May meeting ang (PBA) Board sa Feb. 26,” Marcial said. “Doon pag-uusapan kung ‘yung parating na season lalaruin sa Metro Manila o sa bubble ulit.
“Pinayagan na tayo ng gobyerno actually na maglaro ulit sa bubble, pero tingnan natin.
Depende kasi kung ano na quarantine status natin pagdating ng (season opening on) April 9.”
Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine (GCQ), prohibiting mass gatherings, like sporting events.
Only areas under modified GCQ (MGCQ), as laid out by the IATF in its omnibus guidelines last January, are allowed to hold sporting events before fans “provided that participants shall be limited to fifty percent of the seating or venue capacity.”
“Wait and see muna tayo, kung ibababa ang Metro Manila sa MGCQ bago tayo mag-desisyon,” said Marcial. “Kung hindi, umpisa na tayong magplano para sa isang bubble ulit sa probinsiya.”
That should be another costly endeavor since the bubble in Pampanga reportedly cost the PBA around P65 million.
According to Marcial, the bigger toll was on the mental health of everybody involved.
Luckily, the teams have had the experience which should prepare them for such an eventuality.
“Hindi naman natin masyadong iniintindi ang gastos,” Marcial said. “Lahat ng players, coaches, staff, team personnel na nakausap ko inaming mahirap talaga ‘yung bubble. Pero ngayon handa pa rin sila ulit na pumasok sa bubble, if ever.”
The same would be true of Gilas Pilipinas should the national team accept the PBA’s invitation to play as a guest team in the season-opening Philippine Cup.
The Nationals have been in a bubble set-up at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, training for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window set Feb. 18-22 in Doha.
Gilas leaves for the Qatar capital tomorrow and a decision on whether it would accept the PBA invite would be known once the team returns.