AN effective vaccine against COVID-19 should go a long way in helping the PBA return to some semblance of normalcy.
Like having two import-laced conferences for the league’s 46th season, which only has the Philippine Cup kicking off in April firmly calendared.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the efficacy of any vaccine and the global health situation in the coming months would help determine whether the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cups would be played this coming season.
“As of now, doon muna tayo sa Philippine Cup. Tapos tingnan natin kung puwede na ‘yung imports,” Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“Mga July ‘yun (Commissioner’s Cup) tapos Governors Cup mga late October o early November. Baka puwede na ang imports. Pero depende lahat iyan kung may mapapatunayang mabisang vaccine. May time pa naman tayo para makita kung ano ‘yung vaccine at kung mabisa.”
Due to the COVID outbreak that swiftly turned into a pandemic early last year, the PBA was forced to play just the Philippine Cup last season and only through a bubble in Clark, Pampanga with Ginebra being crowned champion.
During the Power & Play program hosted by Noli Eala last Saturday Marcial reiterated his wish for a regular three-conference season, but remains cautious in his approach due to the lingering COVID threat.
“Tingnan natin kung kakayanin ng tatlong conferences. Kung hindi, baka two. At least two conferences lang ang magagawa natin,” he said.
“Kasi titingnan pa natin nga ‘yung vaccine … so kung makakagawa ng tatlo, good. Pero at least two conferences, pilitin natin.”
For the third-year league chief, it would be ideal if the imports had been inoculated before coming in. “Siguro by then, baka may vaccine na lahat ang mga imports. Sana,” he said.
“So hindi na sila matatakot bumiyahe, hindi na sila matatakot lumaro sa ‘tin, hindi na rin sila matatakot mahawa kasi may vaccine sila. So sana ganu’n.”
Such precautions are necessary since the Philippines is considered among the top virus hotspots in Southeast Asia with over 400,000 confirmed cases.
Marcial said the availability of vaccines will play a role if there will be import-laced conferences for 2021. Prevailing travel restrictions and health and safety protocols should also be taken into account.
“Kung may vaccine, wala na tayong isang malaking problema. Pero ano-ano patakaran ng gobyerno by that time? Paano ‘yung isolation, quarantine nu’ng mga magdadatingang imports?” posed Marcial.
“Paano kapag magpapalit ng import? Kapag i-qua-quarantine mo, baka tapos na ‘yung liga natin bago sila ma-clear. May mga ganu’ng aspects,” added Marcial.
“Tingnan natin kung paano. As of now, hindi ko pa masasagot kasi hindi pa talaga natin alam ang sitwasyon sa panahon na ‘yun. So wait and see muna tayo.”