By JONAS TERRADO
Antipolo City could play host to the PBA’s 46th season which now has a new target date of April 18 as a surge in COVID-19 cases continue to dim the chances of holding games in Metro Manila.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said he’s in ongoing talks with former Rizal governor Jun Ynares regarding the possibility of staging the games at the Ynares Center, one of the pro league’s regular venues during the pre-pandemic times.
“Maganda naman yung usapan namin, maayos so may possibility na dun tayo (We had a good conversation and there’s a possibility that we might hold our games there),” Marcial said.
A closed-circuit concept which limits the movement of teams from their homes to their practice or game venues and back will be observed should further discussions result in an agreement between the PBA and the Rizal government.
Marcial acknowledged that opening the new season in NCR has a very remote chance with the country experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections in the recent days, including a high of 5,000 last Saturday.
Metro Manila also remains under General Community Quarantine, which prohibits the PBA from staging its games in the capital.
But teams can hold practices, albeit by batches where players and coaches must observe physical distancing inside their practice facilities.
Rizal, on the other hand, is under a relaxed Modified General Community Quarantine that allows sporting events like the PBA to be held.
The league will also need the approval of concerned agencies like the Inter-Agency Task Force for the games to push through, regardless if it’s in Metro Manila or in nearby provinces.
“Mukhang mahihirapan na dito sa Metro Manila gawin (It is seems that it will be difficult to hold our games here in Metro Manila),” said Marcial.