THROUGH the compact practices that started last week, the PBA expects the players to be in full physical shape should the season resume through a bubble-style concept next month.
The pro league also intends to ensure the players’ mental well-being is taken care of.
“Tinitingnan din namin iyon, ‘yung mental health ng mga players once na nagpunta na tayo sa bubble,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Kasi, mantakin mo, hanggang dalawang buwan kang malayo sa pamilya, sa mga mahal mo? Siguradong may ma-bu-buryong d’yan, may made-depressed kaya kailangan handa tayo.”
That is one reason, added Marcial, that he has included strong internet connectivity among the criteria for places bidding to host the bubble, which is targeted to start once the teams have achieved full game-shape.
“Tinitingnan natin talaga kung kaya ng hotel na kasama nila na i-accommodate mga 350 to 400 (persons), ano ‘yung safety protocols ng hotel at facilities nila, ng staff nila, kung katabi o malapit sa medical facility,” said Marcial.
“Pero kasama rin sa mga itinatanong ko ang amenities nila, lalo na kung malakas ba ang internet nila dahil hindi uubra na puro praktis, laro, tapos cable TV lang mga players.
Mayroon d’yan gusto ring maka-usap man lang mga mahal nila via Zoom, halimbawa.”
After the season opener that saw defending champion San Miguel Beer beat Magnolia last March 8, there are still 65 games left in the eliminations. That includes three provincial games that have been scrapped.
Marcial said the rest of the Philippine Cup could be wrapped up by December, although it may be stretched a little should there be sudden-death matches and the playoffs go the full distance each.
The prospects of some players going the full route is another reason why a stable and adequate internet connectivity is a must.
“Hindi naman siguro papayag ang isang psychotherapist na sumama sa bubble at mag-stay doon ng ganoon katagal kaya ang puwede nating gawin siguro, mag-provide tayo ng online consultation,” said Marcial.
“At kailangan may mga in-house activities ding nakahanda para sa mga nandoon sa bubble para hindi sila ma-bore, ma-depress.”
In the face of the lingering coronavirus threat, the PBA sees going to an NBA-style bubble concept, where the environment is controlled, as the best option to salvage the Philippine Cup.
Marcial said he talked to representatives of five prospective bubble sites last Tuesday with more set to present their bids today.
“Dalawa ang sure na kausap ko at dalawa rin ang nagpasabi na interesado sila,” said Marcial. “Basta ang kailangan klaro dito, sila nag-pi-prisinta.”
Marcial, however, declined to divulge the identities the hotels that have already made or about to make their presentations.
The PBA has previously pointed to the Clark and Subic Freeport Zones, Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna, El Nido in Palawan, Baguio City, Dubai and old home Smart Araneta Coliseum as probable bubble sites.
“Lahat ng nag-present o mag-pe-present, pareho lang gusto, na magtulungan ang PBA at sila,” said Marcial.
After weighing all the pros and cons of each bidder, Marcial would present his final recommendation to the PBA Board in its next meeting.