By Adrian Stewart Co
There is no more hitches for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to restart its stalled 2021 Philippine Cup by September in Pampanga.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday that they already received a formal go-signal from Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda to complete the remainder of the All-Filipino conference there.
The games will be held at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) gym in Bacolor instead of the Angeles University Foundation, which was used in last year’s bubble tournament.
“The league is only waiting for the approval of DHVSU president, Dr. Enrique G. Baking, before finalizing actual date of the resumption of the games,” Marcial said.
Marcial added that PBA teams already went to Pampanga last Monday and will start their practices today at three different venues namely Angeles University Foundation Gym, Beverly Place in Mexico and Colegio De Sebastian in San Fernando.
The PBA was forced to postpone its Philippine Cup matches last August 4 with the National Capital Region being placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
With the imposition of ECQ, gymnasiums were closed for any activity, which did not spare Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City where the PBA held its first 26 matches under a close-circuit set up.
The PBA initially wanted to transfer its games to Bulacan but the area was also escalated to ECQ moving them to Pampanga, which is under general community quarantine.
The PBA commissioner also said that there will be some changes this season, including the stricter testing among players and team officials due to the uptick in new COVID-19 cases.
“We’re ramping up our COVID-19 testing scheme,” Marcial said. “The testing cycle now will be every seven days with an additional antigen for each team that will play on that day.”
The league, according to Marcial, will also follow its new system of releasing game schedules by each week while the league also considers compressing its schedule just like what it did in last year’s Philippine Cup./ASC, WDJ