THE PBA’s plans to salvage part of its season are more concrete now, with a lot of help from some friends.
The league hopes those friends, particularly Bases and Conversion Development Authority chief Sec. Vince Dizon, would extend more assistance in one key area — helping obtain the needed clearance from the government to enable the league to go ahead with its scrimmages and, eventually, games.
“Tutulong siya para makakuha tayo ng approval,” Commissioner Willie Marcial said of Dizon.
Also lending a hand to the PBA’s request, aside from Dizon, also the Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects, are Clark Development Corp. President and CEO Noel Manankil and Games and Amusements Board chief Baham Mitra.
Dizon’s other capacity as Deputy Chief Implementer of the national policy against COVID-19 concerns Marcial most.
“Nasa (IATF) siya so in that regard malaki maitutulong niya,” said Marcial.
“Ang kagandahan nito, we are also working with Sec. Vince and … Noel Manankil,” PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said in the Power & Play program last Saturday.
“And also, we’re in touch with the GAB Chairman, who’s been very, very helpful in seeing to it that sports continue on the professional side,” added Vargas. “So, we have our fingers crossed.”
Last Thursday, the PBA Board announced Clark Freeport and Economic Zone as the site of the league’s season resumption. All 12 teams, PBA personnel, media and TV crew would be housed at the Quest Hotel inside the CFEZ with the games to be played at the Angeles University Foundation, just 10 minutes away.
The PBA has already written a letter of request to the IATF for the teams to conduct scrimmages and would supplant that with a separate letter today seeking to allow the scrimmages inside the CFEZ starting Sept. 27 and games to be played beginning Oct. 9.
Should that target be met the PBA hopes to play all the games by Dec. 13 at the latest.
“We need to follow all that IATF and the Department of Health protocols and we will do that,” said Vargas. “We will patiently wait for their approval.”
“Sana i-allow tayo, sa tulong ng mga kaibigan natin,” echoed Marcial.
Vargas has bared the semi-bubble concept would cost the PBA P65 million, with the bulk of the amount going to the food and accommodation for the close to 400-person contingent
Marcial admitted the cost would have been higher if not for the help of Dizon and Manankil, especially the former.
“Ang laking tulong niya para makakuha tayo ng discount sa prices ng hotel, court rentals, buses,” enumerated Marcial. “Pati (swab) testing libre, sagot nila and of course ‘yung pagkausap sa governor doon (Gov. Delta Pineda) para pumayag na doon tayo.”
While waiting for the go-signal, the PBA would be ironing out the other details of its plans.
Today, a PBA team led by Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro would go to the former US airbase to inspect the practice venues, draw up schedules for practices and shuttles and other such details.