With COVID-19 restrictions inching back into place, the 2021 PBA season has been put on hold yet again. The beginning of the season had already been pushed back by several months and was only in operation for two weeks before the government enforced new shutdown regulations.
Although the PBA tournaments were already set up to accommodate COVID safety protocols, varying restrictions across many of the designated arenas have brought things to a staggering halt.
How the PBA Season Will Go Forward?
While the Philippine Basketball Association was previously looking at an indefinite break, there seems to be a safety in place. Officials with the PBA are currently negotiating a deal with the local government unit in Pampanga to host the rest of the season in their stadium.
As of this morning, representatives from the PBA announced that they are finalizing efforts for a continued season in Pampanga. The season, if re-initiated, would require various details to secure a bubble set-up for both players and affiliates.
Among these requirements is a provision for PBA players and staff to be hosted in COVID compliant hotels. Furthermore, the organization will have to find three gyms and playing venues for the teams.
The PBA was able to successfully execute a safe season under full-bubble protocol last year. Similarly, there were a few venue swaps. Nonetheless, an impenetrable season was accomplished.
The Future of the PBA
However, this year’s season will not be able to operate under full-bubble protocol and will be utilizing a semi-bubble style of action. Whether or not it will be enough to continue the games and offset the spread of COVID is still unclear.
Things are looking bright for the PBA, as the Inter-Agency Task Force has already extended their permission to go forward. Even so, things could still go awry.
If Pampanga pulls out of this deal, we are still likely to see the season go forward at some point. The organization has yet to complete the Philippine Cup. It’s hard to imagine they won’t at least try to finish that tournament.
An Update on Season Stats
As it stands, the Magnolia Hotshots have taken the lead at 4-0. Just behind them are the TNT Tropang GIGA at 3-0 followed by the Meralco Bolts at 4-1.
Even though they aren’t listed at the top, the Alaska Aces are a team to watch. They have significantly outplayed their opponents in their two wins and fought tooth and nail through their three losses.
Against the Magnolia Hotshots, the Aces managed to finish out just two points behind these league leaders.
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