The 46th PBA season is officially on hold after PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told the media that the enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) extension has forced the league to scratch their initial April start date.
In recent months the Coronavirus has spiked across the Philippines, with a new variant taking the front seat on new infections. Despite the vaccine rollout, new infections have forced the Government to enact strict policies to help fight the spread of COVID.
After the news broke of the extended ECQ regulations, Marcial stated that “April is off,” and the league needs to give the teams and players at least two to three weeks to plan for the beginning of the season.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) initially wanted to begin its season on April 9th, 2021, to coincide with the league’s founding anniversary. Once it became apparent that the ECQ was going to be extended, the league considered moving the start date to April 11th or April 18th.
As a result of the National Capital Region’s extended restrictions, the PBA is reportingly adopting a wait-and-see approach. Commissioner Marcial also stated that the league is not closing the door on another bubble. Giving the expensive nature of playing in a bubble, the league hopes it is avoidable.
Now that the league is forced to look towards May or even a later start date, the PBA could only play the Philippine Cup again in a bubble, like last year. Marcial stated that the PBA board would meet next week to discuss its plan to return to play.
While it looks like we will have to wait until at least May before betting lines become available for the PBA, there are other basketball betting options, including NBA lines and NBA proposition bets. In the US, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has started its league with virtual fans in attendance.
Over the next few weeks, the number of COVID cases will directly determine how the PBA and other sports leagues move forward in the coming months.