NOLI Eala hopes the PBA will start thinking out of the box especially when it comes to its tournament format in its bid to stage the 2021 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former PBA commissioner said the league must adjust to the current times, especially with the hard restrictions on the staging of sports events particularly on contact sports in the country.
Eala said the league will need to change its tournament format just to get its season off the ground.
“The PBA remains the most popular league sa ating bansa. Ang akin lang sanang panalangin para sa PBA, etong pinagdaraanan natin ay hindi ito ordinaryo. Kailangan din, ang thinking, hindi ordinaryo,” said Eala in his weekly program Power and Play on Radyo5 and Cignal.
The PBA is eyeing a two-conference format this year under a closed-circuit format, both single round-robin tournaments. After last year’s bubble tournament, the PBA is eyeing a closed-circuit format to lessen cost and mitigate mental health issues.
Eala, however, believes the PBA must do away with the traditional formats such as a single round-robin tournament, in order to move forward, whether in a bubble or not.
“In other words, sana mag-isip sila ng bagong paraan lalong lalo na sa paggawa ng format,” said Eala, who as PBA commissioner from 2003 to 2007 introduced the two-conference format to accommodate national team commitments.
“Kalimutan na nila ‘yung double round-robin, single round-robin, they have to think out of the box. Hindi puwede ‘yung pareho pa rin ang pananaw. ‘Yun lang naman ang aking take,” he added.
Eala suggested two bubbles and even a points system just so that the league can play their games while also addressing issues related to cost and mental health.
“They have to start thinking of different formats para matuloy ang PBA. Maybe separate bubbles, maybe separate LGUs. May mga koponan sa isang LGU. May koponan sa kabila. Tapos paghahaluin mo. Points system.”
The former sportscaster believes a change of thinking must be done especially with the pandemic changing the landscape of sports not just in the country but around the world as well.
“Kasi itong pandemya, hindi ito pangkaraniwan eh. Kailangan ang pananaw at pag-iisip natin, magbago rin,” said Eala.