SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – The next PBA draft, a maiden 3x3 tournament, and the projected opening of Season 46 top the agenda of the virtual league board meeting to be held on Thursday afternoon.
Commissioner Willie Marcial and chairman Ricky Vargas are expected to preside over the meeting that comes just as the Philippine Cup bubble Finals is about to enter its halfway mark.
Marcial earlier mentioned the possibility of holding the rookie draft by March and the new season by April in time for the league’s 46th anniversary on the ninth of the month.
Whether the next season will be held under another bubble set-up or with fans is still up in the air.
“Baka hindi pa yun (bubble season). Sobrang early pa. Hindi pa natin alam kung anong mangyayari sa Abril,” said Marcial. “Maraming factors. Baka may vaccine na nun. Anong status ba nung vaccine? Anong klaseng bubble? Yung venue? Ekonomiya? Baka April pa yan.”
The 3x3 meet that was supposed to be launched this year, but was shelved for next season following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be tackled under tournament chairman Richard Bachmann in coordination with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) headed by president Al S. Panlilio, who is also the Meralco representative to the board.
The commissioner said the tournament format and other suggestions to be given by the board on how the 3x3 competition will be held are going to be on the table.
Marcial will also open for deliberation whether to give out or not the traditional individual awards once this extraordinary season is over.
Not in the agenda, however, is whether PBA players will be loaned again to the Gilas Pilipinas men’s team during the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers this February.
“Wala namang nire-raise sa ngayon. Ewan ko lang kung sasabihin ni Gov. Al Panlilio,” said Marcial.
The men’s team sent an all-cadet roster that competed in the second window of the qualifiers held in Bahrain this week, including the five PBA players selected in the special rookie draft held in 2019.
Gilas won both its scheduled matches against Thailand in the Manama bubble.
An interesting part of the meeting is the presentation to be made by the East Asia Super League (EASL) held by CEO Matt Beyer.
The regional league recently reformatted its tournament, which will now be played under a home-and-away framework featuring eight of the top professional teams from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
The tournament is set for a grand launch in October 2021.
Beyer already presented the new EASL tournament to Marcial earlier.
“Titingnan namin yung schedule,” said the commissioner. “Gusto nilang sumali tayo (PBA) sa kanila. May ipinakita siya na home-and-away [format] sa akin. Titingnan natin kung makaka-adjust sila sa schedule (natin).”