Prospective bubble sites  bending backwards for PBA

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    THE enormous cost of housing up to 400 people in one place is one nagging worry for the PBA in its search for a suitable site for its projected bubble.

    It now turns out the amount may not be that high.

    According to a well-placed source within the league, the bidders to accommodate the PBA contingent are willing to bend backwards to win the rights to host all the 12 teams and other personnel an entire tournament entails.

    “Talking about price cuts, all the prospective hotels and gyms are willing to drastically slash their prices down para lang ma-earn ‘yung rights to host and house the PBA,” said the insider.

    “Siguro salamat na rin sa COVID dahil wala ngayong tourists o transients na usual na kliyente ng mga hotels,” added the source. “Kaya ‘yung mga hotels talagang bagsak-presyo para lang mai-salvage kahit konting business nila. Pati ‘yung mga gyms.”

    The source cited one hotel, which usually charges around P18,000 a room per night but is now willing to go for much, much less than that.

    “Handa sila hanggang 70 percent off,” claimed the course, adding the same is true of the other bidders, some of which are part of renowned hotel chains in the world.

    A victim of the lingering pandemic itself, the PBA is eyeing an NBA-style bubble as the best option to salvage the Philippine Cup.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial and chairman Ricky Vargas of TNT have previously pointed to the Clark and Subic Freeport Zones, Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna, Baguio City, Dubai, Smart Araneta Coliseum, aside from El Nido in Palawan, as probable bubble sites.

    The hotels at or near those sites usually charge high rates, however, giving the PBA a major concern since it has not had any incoming revenue since shutting down operations last March 11.

    Vargas has said some sponsors could come in to help defray the costs of such a bubble, where the teams’ coaching and support staff, TV crew and PBA personnel would be included.

    Marcial said he has talked to representatives of several prospective bubble sites since last Tuesday, but declined to name the interested parties.

    The source said the Inspire complex remains among the contenders despite some reports to the contrary.

    The complex inside the National U-Laguna campus in Calamba was supposedly booked by Chooks to Go for its 3×3 tournament from later this month up to February and that it does not have enough rooms for the PBA contingent.

    “Hindi pa rin daw sila nare-reserba ng Chooks to Go at wala pa silang pinipirmahan,” said the source.

    “Also, kasama nila ang (nearby) Microtel sa representation, para sa additional accomodation.”

    After weighing all the pros and cons of each bidder, Marcial would present his final recommendation to the PBA Board in its next meeting.