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    PBA considering Ilocos Norte offer to host bubble season

    Apr 20, 2021
    PHOTO: Gerry Ramos

    PLAYING under a bubble set-up remains an option for the PBA 46th season with Ilocos Norte as the prime destination to host the Philippine Cup.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial disclosed the province offered to host the entire league delegation through Governor Matthew Manotoc should it decide to play another conference in a bubble set-up.

    Marcial confirmed he had initial talks with Manotoc and Perry Martinez, head of the Metro Ilocos Norte Council, last week regarding the matter.

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    Martinez once served as head of the PBA’s technical committee while Manotoc is co-owner of the Espiritu-Manotoc Basketball Management Philippines together with Marvin Espiritu, who was actually the one who broached the idea to Marcial that Ilocos Norte could be an ideal setting for the PBA bubble.

    “Nagpapasalamat ako kay Governor Matthew at sinabi ko na sa kanya lahat ng kundisyon,” said Marcial during the press briefing on Tuesday with PBA board vice chairman Bobby Rosales a day after its special meeting.

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    But the offer is still to be formalized as the league’s direction at the moment is to have the entire PBA family vaccinated for the new season to finally push through.

    “Ang direksyon ng PBA as of now is the vaccine, pero hindi namin sinasara yung bubble,” added Rosales.

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    The league held the Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga last year. And while the venue could have been perfect to host the league anew, it will be unavailable in June since it will be hosting the final window of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

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      At the same time, Marcial said Antipolo, Rizal also offers to host the PBA season once given the approval of the IATF.

      “Open ako sa PBA bubble, closed circuit, or kung ano man ang gusto ninyo okay ako basta may approval ng Task Force,” Marcial quoted Rizal Governor JunJun Ynares as saying.

      The league initially had an agreement with the Ynares Center as venue for its games in the Philippine Cup under a closed circuit setup, only for the blueprint to be called off at the last minute when the National Capital Region (NCR), Rizal, Bulacan, Antipolo, and Cavite were put under lockdown starting March 29.

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      “So yun ang dalawang LGUs na handing tumulong sa atin,” said Marcial.

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      PHOTO: Gerry Ramos
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