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    Marcial allays concerns over health-related PBA postponements

    Sep 6, 2021
    Northport vs Meralco
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    DON'T expect the PBA to come running back to Metro Manila now that the National Capital Region has been downgraded to a general community quarantine (GCQ) area.

    PBA commissioner Willie Marcial the pro league isn't in a rush to break camp in Bacolor, Pampanga and head back to the capital now that the quarantine classification in NCR allows games in professional leagues to be played.

    "Right now, there's no plan to head back to Metro Manila," said Marcial when reached for comment after the national government announced that the NCR area will be under a GCQ classication with granular lockdowns from Sept. 8 to 30.

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    The pro league mounted its 2021 season at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City in July under a semi-bubble system that had players, coaches, staff and team officials' movements restricted to home to venue and back.

    However, the weeks-old season came to a complete halt after NCR was placed under a lockdown by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the metropolis blamed on the more contagious Delta variant.

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    After a long wait, the season resumed last week at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, with all of the teams billeted either in hotels and residential villas in neighboring areas.

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    PBA hit by postponements

    But the semi-bubble format once again came under question as a number of games have already been postponed barely a week into the restart after NorthPort, Alaska, and Meralco were placed under the league's "health and safety protocol."

    Marcial was quick to allay the concerns, assuring the pro league isn't anywhere close to shutting down its season. An agreement with the IATF will have the league halting its games if six teams register positive tests in a one-week cycle.

    The PBA chief assured the pro league plans to finish the elimination phase of the Philippine Cup in Bacolor by the fourth week of September before making any decisions on where the playoffs will be held.

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      He expects the eliminations to end by September 22.

      "We have to carefully study the situation," said Marcial. "Paano kung bumalik nga tayo sa Maynila, tapos biglang nagka-spike ng mga cases at nag-ECQ na naman tayo? That would be an even bigger problem for us.

      "So we have to take stock of the situation before any decision on the venue is made."

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      PHOTO: PBA Images
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