A PROPOSAL put forward by Barangay Ginebra assistant coach Richard Del Rosario to stage a ‘Quarantine Cup’ in order to salvage the 2020 PBA season has been set aside by the league board owing to 'enormous expenses and great risks,' sources told SPIN.ph on Friday.
In a nine-minute video posted on his YouTube channel, Del Rosario called for a compressed conference in which the league will play a 17-day elimination round plus a playoff under strict health protocols just to finish the mothballed season.
Under his proposal, all members of the PBA family will undergo rapid testing and those who tested negative of Covid-19 will report to a team quarantine facility. Those who will test positive will be sent home.
The team quarantine facility, ideally located near practice gyms or game venues, will serve as a training camp where they can hold twice-a-day practices during the 14-day quarantine period, Del Rosario proposed.
Teams will be asked to follow strict travel and health protocals during quarantine, with lodging to be shouldered by the team and food by the players.
The proposal got an endorsement on Twitter from Ginebra coach Tim Cone, although Del Rosario was the first to admit it wasn't perfect.
“I have prepared this proposal knowing that it may be full of loose ends and improbabilities,” said the former PBA player. “That’s why I’m offering it to the better judgement of the members of the PBA board to decide if there’s even one aspect in this proposal that we can build on.”
Del Rosario suggested smaller gyms like the Upper Deck gym, Moro Lorenzo Sports Center, Ronac Gym, Azure Residences, and Gatorade Hoops Dome as possible game venues to save on rental cost.
He also proposed a four-game, seven-day a week schedule in two venues, raising the possibility of teams playing back-to-back games under a compressed schedule. Double-headers will be played in two venues but in between games, a time of two hours will be allotted to disinfect the courts and equipment.
Asked about the proposal, Marcial said the league board decided restarting the season "wasn't a priority at this time."
"We've put the plan in the backburner," Marcial said.
Sources, however, bared the proposal was already discussed by the league board during its last meeting on May 4 and most of the members were cold on the proposal because of two factors: the enormous expenses required and the great risks.
According to one board member, the league assessed that the amount that teams and the league will have to spend in terms of lodging, meals, and other essentials over the pocket tournament would be "like hosting one major international tournament."
The cost of hotel rooms and daily meals for the duration of the proposed Quarantine Cup alone will be huge, the board member estimated.
League officials also doubt if any local government unit will welcome the PBA entourage with open arms, considering the inherent risks it presents under the present conditions.
Under Del Rosario's proposal. only a skeletal workforce will be required in the actual games in which each team can only have 12 players, two coaches, one physical therapists, and one team manager.
There only needs to be three game officials, two PBA officials, three table officials, four TV production personnel, and two representatives of the Games and Amusements Board and Department of Health in the venue during games, he added.
For the broadcast, there will be a three-camera set-up but commentators will broadcast the games off-tube or from the TV5 Media Center under a set-up similar to the one used by the network during the Southeast Asian Games last year.
Members of the PBA Press Corps can cover the game at the TV5 Media Center with interviews to be conducted remotely under Del Rosario’s suggestion.
However, some board members doubt if such a lean unit can supervise the games, pointing out that three referees being counted upon to officiate all the games leave them vulnerable to "fatigue and influence."
But the greatest risk, they fear, will be in the qurantine facility where one compromised service personnel may end up infecting an entire team, a source added.
"We can't take that risk," said a board member who declined to be identified.
At the moment, the league board prefers to wait until August before making the decision on whether to hold one conference or cancel the season altogether.
But if such a tournament pushes through, Del Rosario said the PBA will be able to provide jobs to daily wage earners of the league while also encouraging Filipinos to stay home while being able to watch live sports.
“For millions of Filipinos, the PBA is more than just basketball. It’s a way of life. A love for the league that has been passed on for generations. The PBA may not earn as much under the proposed concept but I’m hoping that we will not lose the PBA and find a way to keep it alive,” said the Ginebra assistant coach.