Armed with a successful vaccination campaign and a reduced COVID-19 infection rate among players, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) hopes to finally get the green light from the government to begin its 46th season this month.
“We could be called next Wednesday or Thursday,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer Saturday night, optimistic that the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will finally allow the league to host official games. early. , giving the PBA the opportunity to hold two conferences.
The PBA vaccination campaign has been a great success and the commissioner hopes that by next week, only five percent of the league’s players will be left to complete their vaccination.
“By next week, about 95 percent of the player group would have received their second dose of vaccine,” he said.
Additionally, since five infections among players were reported as of last week, only one has been added to that number. Marcial also said that the fans have been clamoring for the return of the league, especially now that Gilas Pilipinas’ stint in international competitions has come to an end.
“The fans have been asking when are we going to start,” Marcial said.
The national team had temporarily quenched the public’s hunger for basketball, something for which Marcial has been grateful. Gilas Pilipinas has also revealed some future stars among his PBA recruits, including point guard Jordan Heading, Terrafirma’s first pick in the special draft who wowed fans with strong performances at the recent Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia.
The status of Heading and the other PBA recruits in the national pool is also expected to resolve once the league has the green light to start.
National coach Tab Baldwin, who is also the director of the Gilas Pilipinas program, said that the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas need to discuss the status of the PBA recruits who are part of the national group, which is now ready to prepare for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup in August.
The PBA plans to close its season sometime in the middle of this month, with the Ynares Center in Antipolo City and the Ynares Sports Complex in Pasig City as potential venues.
If the league can do that, Marcial is confident of hosting a two-conference season that will end sometime in January.
Marcial is aware that the government’s approval will depend on the daily cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The average for last week is 5,908 new cases daily, a significant decrease compared to the increase during the summer. INQ
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