THE PBA admitted it can no longer afford to hold another bubble this season.
In his meeting with the IATF last Wednesday, Commissioner Willie Marcial told the agency how difficult it is to mount another bubble which the league did last year just to be able to mount its 45th season amid a pandemic.
Marcial said the undertaking was not only a mental burden for players, coaches, and team personnel, it was also financially challenging for the entire league itself.
“Sinabi ko rin sa IATF yun, hindi na namin kayang mag-bubble. Mahirap. Inamin ko na mahirap kasi magastos,” stressed the PBA chief during a press briefing on Friday.
To hold the restart of last year’s Philippine Cup, the league coughed up between P65 to P70 million to stay inside the Clark bubble in just a two-month stretch.
This year, holding another bubble will definitely be inefficient especially with the PBA looking to hold two conferences, both for longer periods.
News that the IATF finally granted the league the green light to hold scrimmages even in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) came like a rain in the middle of summer for the league.
The government clearance paves the way for teams to finally schedule their respective practices in nearby provinces that are modified as GCQ.
Marcial already had an initial agreement with the province of Batangas for majority of the PBA ballclubs to train and practice in three playing venues identified as Batangas City Coliseum, Batangas State University gym, and the Lyceum-Batangas gym.
The commissioner thanked the government for heeding the call of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league almost a week since meeting Senator Bong Go and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in Malacanang in the company of Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua.
“So siguro kinunsider din nila (the bubble difficulty),” said Marcial. “Kaya kailangan maipakita nga natin na successful itong scrimmages na gagawin natin.”
If things fall into place, the PBA commissioner hopes it would pave the way for the IATF to finally allow the league to hold its season as well.
“So sana payagan na tayong maglaro ng official games,” he said.
Not under a bubble, but through a closed-circuit system as initially planned.
“Sana nga huwag na (bubble),” added Marcial.