AFTER the NBA, it's the PBA's turn to hold a bubble season at the Clark Freeport and Economic Zone in Pampanga.
The PBA board on Thursday announced that it will hold a compressed all-Filipino conference beginning next month that will see the 12 teams stay in a hotel inside the former US military base in Angeles City for around two months.
Once the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases gives its approval to the PBA plan, the league plans to allow scrimmages inside the bubble by September 27 and start the season on Oct. 9.
The games will be held at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles, Pampanga while the players will be staying at the Quest Hotel inside the Clark Freeport Zone.
Commute from Clark to the AUF gym is just around 10 minutes.
“We looked at all those who are interested to host the PBA and thought that the one that has a more complete offering from the safety standpoint particularly from the protocol, from the control, the nearness to hospitals, and our ability to take care of the mental health of our players during the bubble, the teams decided to take the offer of Clark,” said PBA chairman Ricky Vargas.
Players, coaches, and staff will be transported from hotel to the venue by a shuttle service that will be run under strict health protocols.
To compress the extraordinary season amid the global COVID-19 pandemic that halted the PBA's season back in March, doubleheaders will be played everyday for a total of 49 gamedays inside the bubble - or 90 matches to crown a new Philippine Cup champion.
The tournament will have a single-round robin elimination round, with the top four teams earning twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals will be a pair of best-of-five affair, with the winners advancing to the best-of-seven final to decide the all-Filipino champion.
To make sure health protocols are followed by the players, violators will be hit with a P100,000 fine and an automatic one-month suspension without pay to be imposed by the team and a five-game suspension the following season.