THE coming opening of the 46th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in Pasig and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) in Ilocos Norte are positive signs that professional sports are slowly getting their groove back despite the pandemic.
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said the PBA, Asia’s first play-for-pay league, and the PVL, the country’s first professional volleyball league, have secured the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to open their respective tournaments next week.
“We’re very happy that both the PBA and PVL have been allowed to resume,” said Mitra in the monthly virtual press conference of GAB on Friday morning.
The PBA 46th season will kick off at the Ynares Center in Pasig on July 16, while the PVL First Conference will begin on July 17 in Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
“GAB fully supported the PBA request to the IATF to start its season at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, where they will be adopting a closed-circuit, semi-bubble setup,” added Mitra..
“After a thorough review, the recommendations of the professional sports division of GAB has been approved by tbe IATF technical working group.”
Mitra, however, clarified that no fans will be allowed to watch the games live as part of the health and safety protocols.
“Unlike in the NBA where fans are now allowed to watch the games live, sa PBA hindi pa po pwede ang mga fans. Talagang istrikto ang IATF na at least 100 person lang ang puwede. Sa TV at livestreaming na lang po muna taYo manood. Para sa kabutihan naman nating lahat ang gsnitong pag-iingat.”
The PBA was originally set to open its 46th season last. April 9 to coincide with its anniversary.
But a spike in coronavirus cases, especially in the National Capital Region, prevented the PBA from doing so.
Aside from the PBA and PVL, the other professional leagues under GAB supervision set to open this month are the National Basketball League (NBL) and Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).
The Mindanao leg of the Pilipinas Vis-Min Super Cup also started earlier this month in Ipil, Zamboanga.
“Yun Vis-Min Cup is now in Zamboanga Sibugay. But I was told they plan to move to Pagadian kapag mag nag-improve na yun health situation dun.”
Mitra also reported that boxing promotions are also expected to resume, including one st tge Elorde Sports Complex in Parañaque.
“As early as last year, may mangilan-ngilan na tayong mga promoters sa Cebu ang nagsagawa ng boxing. Sa Luzon, nagsimula na rin sila. Ngayong puwede na sa Manila, baka po mas marami nang promoter ang magsimula nang magpalaro. Kailangan ito ng ating mga local boxers para na rin sa kanilang kabuhayan at kahandaan sa paglaban sa abroad,” explained Mitra.
Also in the calendar are the GM Wesley So Cup chess tournament being organized by the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) of Atty. Paul Elauria and Michael Angelo Chua; and various e-sports competitions.
Aside from Mitra, the other officials present are GAB commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid and division heads.