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July 9, 2021 Theodore P. Jurado 340 views

A FEW days from now, the Philippine Basketball Association is coming back for its 46th season whose future remains hanging in the balance for a long time.

The good news that ever came out from the Commissioner’s Office since last December was announced by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial to the sportswriters during an online press conference, a day after getting informed of the development by MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos.

According to Marcial, games will be held starting July 16 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City and also at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City under a closed-circut semi-bubble setup for its long-delayed season.

Marcial also said that 95 percent of the pro league family has been vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the factors that let the Inter-Agency Task Force to give the green light for Asia’s first professional league to open shop, nearly seven months after successfully staging its only conference–the Philippine Cup–last December.

The PBA commissioner said he already had discussions with former Antipolo mayor Jun Ynares and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto about health protocols, including the three-day initial test before opening day for the all players and staff of the league.

Early yesterday, the Games and Amusements board first announced the IATF’s approval of the PBA opening.

“We just want to update everybody that the IATF has already approved the resumption of the PBA in their meeting yesterday. And PBA will start on July 16,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra said.

“We don’t want the league to be a problem, and we don’t want to be a burden and a problem to the PBA. We are in full support of the resumption of professional sports. However, we are of course guided by the joint admin order, which IATF has tasked us to do,” he added.

Marcial also met with Abalos at the agency’s headquarters in Makati City, to seek further guidance on the IATF rules and regulations on contact sports.