Commissioner Willie Marcial wore an ear-to-ear smile all of Monday when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) held its Governors’ Cup Finals presser at Novotel Manila.
“It’s the first time we’re going to have a complete [season] and have three conferences. And we were able to stage an All-Stars, too,” he told the Inquirer. “We are lucky.”
Between the coronavirus outbreak three years ago and this current season, Asia’s pioneering pro league was only able to hold a grand total of three tournaments. Now, the PBA is just seven games—at most—from completing a full, three-conference season.
The league will eventually have to shorten its 48th season again for the sake of the national basketball program that is gearing up for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup set here this August.
But already, Marcial has plans to offset the missing playdates by holding exhibition matches around the country from May to July.
“We’re going to the provinces and to schools here in Metro Manila while other players are busy in the Southeast Asian Games and the World Cup,” he said.
“Batangas, Dumaguete, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Caloocan, Antipolo,” he added. “Ynares (in Antipolo), Olivares (in Parañaque) and even in UST (University of Santo Tomas in Manila), we’ll hold games there.”
Playdates will feature doubleheaders spread across Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and will again test at 5:00 pm tipoff to draw more spectators and rekindle “an old watching habit,” according to Marcial.
“We hope to further ride this return to normalcy. And we’ll do it with the help, of course, of the fans,” he said. INQ
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