THE ongoing PBA season is poised to get even longer.
Commissioner Willie Marcial disclosed that the league’s 44th season could extend all the way to March next year if plans to have Team Pilipinas compete in the annual Jones Cup push through in the third quarter of the year.
The plan may force the league to take a month-long break to make way for the Jones Cup trip as well as the national team’s campaign in the FIBA World Cup in China.
National coach Yeng Guiao, through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), has already notified the league about its plan to see action in the Jones Cup as part of its World Cup preparation, a matter which the commissioner said will be taken up in the next PBA board meeting.
“Ita-tackle sa board meeting 'yan including yung schedule ng liga for the rest of the season,” said Marcial during the SBP thanksgiving lunch for Team Pilipinas held on Thursday at the Lighthouse of the Meralco Bldg. in Ortigas.
The commissioner said the season would be over by February if Team Pilipinas would skip the Jones Cup tournament, but could extend for another month in the event the board agrees to the request of the national team.
Had Team Pilipinas failed to advance in the World Cup, the season was scheduled to finish by December.
“Two weeks din kasi yung Jones Cup so hinto ulit yung schedule natin that time. Then ganun ulit during the World Cup. So in all, one month mahihinto ang liga,” Marcial said.
But he did admit the benefit of the national team's participation in the Jones Cup.
“Magandang training yun sa team. For sure, nandiyan din yung ibang teams na kasali sa World Cup,” Marcial added.
Guiao is also cognizant of the sacrifice the league has to make for the national team, the reason he’s only eyeing a Jones Cup stint instead of a training camp abroad.
“Kapag ginawan natin yan (training camp), yung PBA schedule na naman ang maaapektuhan. So ngayon wala pa naman,” he said.
“Right now on top of my mind is let’s prepare for the Jones Cup, let’s form the team early, and then let’s look at the schedule of the PBA kung paano natin matitimbang yan.”
Guiao admitted the new home-and-away format of the Fiba qualifiers had adversely affected not only the PBA, but the pro leagues in other countries as well.
“Ang pinaka-mahirap dito yung schedule ng pro leagues nadi-disrupt talaga, hindi lang ng PBA pero lahat ng pro leagues ng mundo,” the national coach pointed out.