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    PBA prefers closed-circuit system over bubble for next season

    Dec 16, 2020
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    THE PBA is considering holding its next season under a closed-circuit set-up.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial said the pro league is leaning towards adopting the concept by April, months after holding a successful season for the 2020 Philippine Cup inside a bubble at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

    “It might be,” was his curt reply on Wednesday when asked about the plan.

    While he’s not discounting the possibility of playing in a bubble, the closed circuit model appears to be the most logical option for next season.

    The system - successfully used by Bundesliga - was adopted by the PBA when individual team practices resumed last August, with players and coaches going through a house-gym-house routine while adhering to strict health protocols.

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    Its initial success had Marcial and the league hierarchy contemplating on embracing it as possible format for the season restart with the Smart Araneta Coliseum serving as the lone playing venue.

    But the plan was put in the backburner at the last minute as the National Capital Region (NCR) remained under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) by September, thus prohibiting contact sports from being held.

    The league then turned its sights on holding games inside a bubble similar to the NBA model, although the lodging and the playing venue were not housed in a single place.

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      Despite some bumps on the road, the bubble season proved to be a success and actually, became a model for some of the leagues and tournaments in the country and in the Asian region.

      But it was also a costly proposition as the PBA shelled out a whopping P65 million just to be able to mount the season’s single conference that lasted 72 days at the Quest Hotel and the Angeles University Foundation gym.

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      It also meant players, coaches, team personnel along with PBA staff had to be away from their respective families for one month at the minimum and two-and-a-half months at the maximum.

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        Although administration of the vaccines for the COVID-19 had already began worldwide, the country isn't expected to get its supply until the second quarter of 2021, by which time the league should be starting the new season.

        “Hindi pa natin alam ang sitwasyon kasi by that time,” said Marcial. “Kaya wait and see pa rin tayo.”

        The commissioner also said the PBA board will have the final say on whether a closed circuit system is already feasible by next year.

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        PHOTO: PBA Images
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