NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said the NBA will serve as the barometer on how the PBA should go about its 2021 season amid the pandemic.
Guiao said the NBA remains the standard for most basketball leagues around the world on how to conduct tournaments amid the pandemic. The NBA is set to open its 2020-2021 season next week.
“Ang pinaka-model natin ‘yung NBA,” said Guiao in an upcoming SPIN Sidelines episode. “Nung naging successful ang NBA sa bubble, naisip ng board of governors and ni Commissioner Willie [Marcial] na eto ang tamang formula.
"‘Wag na nating i-reinvent ang wheel, wag na tayong mag-imbento ng protocol. Successful na ‘to, gayahin na natin.' And true enough, it was successful again in our case," Guiao added.
“As a result of the success of the PBA bubble, ‘yung Fiba gagawin na sa Clark in the same mode and in the same pattern. That is an indication that our Clark bubble experiment was a success,” said Guiao.
But unlike last season, the NBA is no longer staging a bubble as it will revert back to the home-and-away format, with games to be held in mostly empty arenas and teams being tested regularly and required to follow stringent health and safety protocols.
“’Yung next conference natin, I’m sure papanoorin uli natin kasi magsisimula ang NBA ahead of us. Now, we have to observe them. ‘Yung gagawin nila ngayon is semi-bubble na," the NLEX coach said.
"The players are on their own, they follow protocols, they get tested regularly, and they still play in a stadium na wala pa ring tao or ililimit ‘yung percentage ng capacity ng stadium.”
He added: “I think that’s the best way. Pabayaan natin ‘yung mga magagaling, may resources, pabayaan muna natin sila. Manood tayo kesa gumawa tayo ng sarili natin pero hindi naman tayo kasing-dami ng resources o kasing-dami ng expert minds that are able to formulate whatever is appropriate in this situation.
"Kesa pigain natin utak natin sa gagawin natin next conference, observe muna tayo sa gagawin ng PBA.”
Personally, Guiao said he prefers staging the games in Metro Manila, such as the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, next season in a semi-bubble where teams can still be billeted in nearby hotels.
“Opinion ko lang ‘to, baka maglaro tayo ng Araneta, may Novotel sa tabi, baka puwedeng ‘yung mga players, naka-billet na lang sa Novotel. ‘Yung practice natin, ‘yung sariling practice venue with protocols being followed, may disinfection at health protocols, maybe that could be a possibility,” said Guiao.
Guiao was one of the proponents of the PBA staging its season in a confined location in Clark. But even the NLEX coach admitted that life in the bubble is difficult.
“’Yung buhay sa PBA bubble sa Clark, mahirap. May mental issues and problems talaga. Malulungkot ka, may anxiety, may depression. Bababa lang ako, bibili ng hamburger, hindi mo magawa,” Guiao said
“Kami nga, one-and-a-half months lang, ang Ginebra and TNT more than two months. Imagine mo ang hirap. I don’t know kung ganun pa rin sa April or meron nang adjustments. Maybe it’s a semi-bubble or let’s see what the NBA does,” said Guiao.