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PBA continues to adjust plans for its pandemic-delayed Season 46

AS further proof of how fluid the situation is with the pandemic, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has been forced to continuously adjust its plans for the league’s delayed Season 46.

This week, the league board is set to meet to tackle anew the PBA’s push for its new season, trying to work with what it is presented with in relation with the health and safety situation in the country.

Among the expected matters to be discussed in the board meeting on May 27 are setting a “workable” kickoff date for Season 46 and the deferment of the start of the league’s inaugural 3×3 tournament.

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial had shared earlier that the league would wait until the country’s hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in June was over.

The PBA chief said they are targeting a start late next month or early July.

He said this was to give them more time to iron things out for the season start, including allowing all the competing teams enough time to train and prepare for their respective campaigns.

They also hope that by that time, members of the PBA family had been vaccinated and quarantine restrictions had been eased further in the National Capital Region to give the staging of Season 46 more stability and flexibility.

“The new target date (for the season opener) is after the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier,” Mr. Marcial was quoted as saying by the official PBA website.

The country is set to host the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers from June 16 to 20 in a “bubble” setting at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga.

Three groups are set to play in the tournament, including Group A where Gilas Pilipinas will see action.

The PBA’s push for a season start recently got a break when government authorities allowed teams to return to practices but only in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) setup and guided by existing health and safety protocols.

The teams did not waste much time, working on the needed requirements to resume activities.

Majority of the teams are training right now in Batangas City, a GCQ area, while others went north to Pampanga and Ilocos Norte.

3X3 START TO BE DEFERRED
Meanwhile, Mr. Marcial is set to present to the board the deferment of the start of the PBA 3×3 tournament.

Originally targeted to begin alongside the five-a-side tournament, the 3-on-3 competition is now angled to begin once 5-on-5 is up and running.

Mr. Marcial cited the availability of practice facilities as one of the reasons for the delay.

“We have limited practice facilities at the moment. We have Batangas but the 5-on-5 teams are using them so there is not enough space and time for the 3×3 teams to train,” he said. “So 5-on-5 would start first then later on we can begin with 3×3.”

At least 16 teams are expected to compete in the PBA 3×3, including six guest ball clubs. The tournament is planned to feature a total of 18 legs.

The PBA for its Season 46 is looking to squeeze in as much activity as possible so as to provide more basketball action for the fans.

Last season, it was only able to stage one tournament because of the pandemic. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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