Willie Marcial tempers hassle-free expectations. —PBA IMAGES
Barring any more hitches, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will reopen on Wednesday, resuming its fabled Philippine Cup almost a month after its elimination round was shuttered by an uptick in COVID-19 infections in the National Capital Region.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, however, is the first to hose down any rising excitement with a splash of reality.
“I’m not that confident,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday on the eve of the PBA staff’s trip to Pampanga province where they will set up camp.
“The government, doctors are not too assured that we’d have a problem-free run,” he went on. “We really don’t know on which front we’d encounter hurdles.“But we’re truly optimistic that we can manage,” the league chief added.
So tempered was Marcial’s outlook that he said the PBA can only afford seven to 10 days worth of delay if it intends to hit the league’s original target of staging two conferences this year. “The Finals can happen late in October,” he said. “We can do another conference and then finish by early February.”
The commissioner said all that’s left to settle for the reboot are paperwork with the top brass of Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor town, where the games will be held, and the PBA delegation’s first cycle of COVID-19 testing.
The schedule will be released on a weekly basis, as previously reported by the Inquirer. “[The scheduling is] contingent on the tests,” Marcial said. “Our technical staff preselects teams later that night and notifies them. It’s only in the next day when we can get some sort of a picture of which teams will be playing.“
“We can only release the [schedule] by Tuesday afternoon,” said Eric Castro, the deputy commissioner who also serves as technical director. INQ