PBA going the ‘bubble’ way

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    THERE are a number of reasons why the PBA wants to salvage at least the Philippine Cup and helping out the member-teams and satisfying the fans’ cravings are foremost among them.

    PBA chairman Ricky Vargas admitted this yesterday, the main reason he is pushing all buttons to ensure at least the usual season-opening tournament resumes after it was stopped last March.

    “There is no other option (but to resume the season),” Vargas said in the online edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

    “I agree with what the owner of Alaska said, Mr. (Wilfred Steven) Uytengsu. There’s going to be pressure financially for the teams if this (shutdown) goes on for a longer period of time. Not only for the teams but for the PBA itself,” added Vargas.

    “But more importantly we don’t want the PBA’s popularity to lose out because we’re not doing anything. Our fans could be more aggressive than us and we’d also like to satisfy their concerns.”

    The first step towards the season resumption was taken yesterday when several teams started their non-contact conditioning and workouts, a process the PBA hopes would take only a month before the teams are allowed to do full scrimmages.

    Vargas believes the start of the practices fans his own hopes that the PBA can move forward, even if it follows the NBA route of going in a bubble.

    “Nandiyan na tayo,” he said.

    “My own feeling as part of the Board, as chairman, we do not have a choice. We should.

    May model na. The model is the NBA and we should just go ahead and look forward to the time na maglalaro na tayo whether it’s the NBA way or a more innovative way,” added Vargas.

    The bubble option would be high on the topic of the PBA Board when it convenes this Thursday, but Vargas said some team representatives are also looking forward to the

    season resumption.
    “Yesterday, I was talking to some of the governors and they were also as excited,” related Vargas. “In fact, we were talking about several options in terms of following the (NBA) bubble. The question is, meron ba ditong lugar sa Pilipinas na puwede tayong mag-bubble, kasi wala naman tayong Disneyworld. So several options we mapped, all the way from Inspire (Sports Academy) at Calamba to looking into (Smart) Araneta Coliseum, kasi may mga hotels naman beside that, to even looking as far as Clark (Freeport Zone).”

    Commissioner Willie Marcial, who also joined the public sports program, said he has started exploring various options if the PBA Board gives the go-signal.

    There is one big problem with playing in a closed-off facility, starting with housing all the teams in a hotel.

    “Kasi sa NBA sumagot lahat niyan is the NBA. I think they spent $180 million for a shortened conference of two months,” Vargas pointed out.

    “We will have to take a look at our own financials kung puwedeng sagutin ng PBA iyan or it will be shared with the teams. All these options have to be presented to the teams. Kasi kung ganyan ang halaga, I’m not sure the PBA can pay for that totally. As it is, stretched na rin ang financials ng PBA. Remember, it’s been five months, going on six months that we have been supporting PBA operations without revenue coming in.”