PBA in a bind

March 10, 2020

THE PBA is likely to either hold today’s double-header behind closed door or postpone it in the face of rising number of confirmed cases of corona virus (COVID-19) in the country.

The PBA board, headed by chairman Ricky Vargas of Talk ‘N Text, was to hold an emergency meeting yesterday precisely to tackle measures the league may implement as the spread of the dreaded virus continues to get to an alarming pace.

It was gathered that all the 12 board of governors were required to attend the meeting in an unspecified venue owing to the gravity of the situation facing the league.

The number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in the Philippines climbed to 33 (not 35 as earlier reported) on Tuesday as the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 11 new cases.

President Duterte has already ordered the suspension of classes in Metro Manila from Tuesday, March 10, to Saturday, March 14, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

Some events in the collegiate ranks had either been cancelled or held behind closed door. Just last Monday, Game 2 of the UAAP junior basketball finals which was won by eventual champion National University Bullpups, was also held behind closed-door.

The Philippine Super Liga (PSL) women's volleyball league had also announced that it will be holding its games behind closed doors starting on Tuesday while Marikina begged off from its commitment to host the Palarong Pambansa.

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have also been implementing drastic measures such as holding tests events for the quadrennial games behind closed-door.

As leagues, both locally and overseas, started implementing drastic measures, the PBA is likely to follow suit to protect the fans, the players and everyone involved from being infected with the virus that has claimed hundreds of lives abroad.

Of the two possible options the league is weighing in, the PBA is more likely to just hold the games behind closed door.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said they are open to discussing all possible options that could be acceptable to the league, even as there is no clear idea on when would the spread of the virus subside.

“Ilalatag namin lahat ng posibleng mangyari,” he said. “Puwedeng maurong ulit 'yung schedule, puwede ring maglaro closed-door, or puwede rin namang ituluy-tuloy din natin yung mga laro.”

The league opened shops for its 45th season only last Sunday, with San Miguel Beer getting off to a rousing start in its bid for sixth straight All-Filipino title after beating Magnolia.

The league was supposed to have launched its new season last March 1 but had to postpone it because of the virus threat.

In today’s resumption, Talk ‘N Text and Phoenix are set to clash in the first tussle and 4:30 p.m. while NorthPort and NLEX are to collide in the main offering at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

If only for the presence of Christian Standhardinger, the Batang Pier are slightly favored to prevail over the Road Warriors.