IN the entire history of the Philippine Basketball Association, imports have been part and parcel of the league - a rich different spice savored by Filipino hoop fans.
But it may take a while before the PBA sees the return of this breed, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted practically everybody and everything in the world.
If ever the league is allowed to return this year, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said they would just resume the stalled Philippine Cup of PBA Season 45.
And if they're to start all over again next year or at anytime beyond 2020, the PBA chief said it would likely be all-Filipino.
"Posibleng no imports," said Marcial, anticipating a possible season without foreign reinforcements except if a vaccine to beat COVID is finally found.
"Ang problema kasi may papayag bang imports na pumunta dito sa atin ngayon? At syempre, may takot din tayong tanggapin sila sa atin ngayon. Makikipaglaro ba ang players natin sa kanila?" said Marcial.
"At kung may pumunta man, kailangan pa ng 14-day quarantine period. At pag nagpalit ka ng import, another 14-day quarantine period. So malamang na magsisimula tayo sa pagbalik sa all-Filipino," Marcial added.
Thus in a period of uncertainties, what is certain is the absence of imports in 2020.
Chris McCullough will not be able to get a shot at another Commissioner's Cup title run with San Miguel Beer while multi-titled import Justin Brownlee will have to wait awhile - if ever - for yet another journey with Barangay Ginebra.