MANILA, Philippines — The PBA is eyeing to resume play within this month depending on the go-signal of Pampanga following its momentary stoppage in Metro Manila due to the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Nothing is cast in stone yet but the PBA is in talks with the familiar local government unit that already served as its venue last year for a possible return there at the end of the month.
“We are still waiting. There is still no definite date yet but we’re looking at the last week of August,” PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro told The STAR after the league submitted an official request letter to Pampanga Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda.
Pending the clearance of Pampanga that is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the PBA would stay within the province only under a semi-bubble set-up compared to the closed-circuit or home-gym-home routine in Pasig City for its opener last month.
The plan is due to the strict border controls in and out of the National Capital Region and in anticipation of extended restrictions there due to the COVID-19 Delta threat.
As it stands, NCR is under ECQ until August 20 but is not expected to immediately downgrade to GCQ in which the PBA could only resume play.
The Inter-Agency Task Force has previously issued a resolution allowing the PBA to continue games in areas that are under simple GCQ and/or MGCQ only, like Pampanga.
Coaches have expressed their support to the PBA’s resumption anywhere, including NLEX mentor and Pampanga native Yeng Guiao that is expecting a month-long stay in the nearby North Luzon province to finish the elimination round.
“We were told that if ever it goes to Pampanga, we have to stay in Pampanga (para hindi na pabalik-balik at patatapusin na doon ang elimination round),” said Guiao in NLEX’s website.
Teams would still undergo a testing protocol upon province entry and a week-long preparation to regain rhythm before the restart of the shelved tourney midway through the elims.
It would also take time to transfer the league and TV production equipment in the chosen venue that is still to be disclosed by the PBA though it already played at the AUF Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles for the duration of the historic bubble tourney last year.
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