Taking a hit

PBA: One in the long list of local tournaments being postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus threat.

THE Philippine sports scene took a beating from the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVIT-19 outbreak has forced the PBA, MPBL, UAAP, NCAA, Philippine SuperLiga and ASEAN Basketball League to suspend play.

An AFC Cup group stage match between reigning Philippine club champions Ceres-Negros FC and Indonesia's Bali United was played behind closed doors.

With Metro Manila, where most of the sporting events are played, under "community quarantine" which include a ban of mass gatherings until mid-April, the possibility of having competitions back right away looked dim.

After opening the season with the duel between San Miguel and Magnolia, the PBA Philippine Cup has been shelved.

The league also put on hold the ongoing PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup games and activities and PBA 3x3 inaugurals until further notice.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said that he, together with the PBA Board of Governors in an emergency meeting last Tuesday discussed the possibility of suspending from two weeks to a month, or holding games behind closed doors.

In the end, Marcial called for indefinite suspension, which could see extend the league's 45th season end in March or April 2021.

"Nakita ng Board of Governors kung anong ikakabuti ng lahat, safety at health ng mga tao. Hindi lang players, fans, pati referees, lahat na," said Marcial.

"Hindi na namin tinitingnan kung ano impact sa schedule, pera. Tinitingnan muna namin ang kalagayan at safety ng lahat," he added.

The collegiate leagues also bore the brunt of the coronavirus.

The UAAP Board of Managing Directors, in an emergency meeting earlier this week, has decided unanimously to extend the suspension of all its events until Tuesday.

With the latest development regarding COVID-19, the league will make another announcement regarding the future of Season 82 on Monday.

Earlier, the league suspended all its events from March 10-14.

Affected events so far are centerpiece second semester sport volleyball, football, softball, baseball, high school beach volleyball and high school girls' basketball.

The UAAP last Monday held Game 2 of the high school boys basketball Finals between eventual champion Nazareth School of National University and Far Eastern University-Diliman behind closed doors at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

For the second time, all NCAA Season 95 activities are hereby suspended until further notice.

The league was suppose to resume on Monday, but the declaration of the Department of Health of Red Alert Sub-Level 1 earlier in the week forced the NCAA Management Committee to put on hold the remaining second semester sports, including volleyball, which is on the final two days of eliminations.

The Policy Board is set to meet soon to discuss the possibly of postponing or the termination of all events.

The NCAA has not played since Feb. 13.

The PSL Grand Prix games that were scheduled until April 12 are now postponed.

The league said that the league will resume action from 7 tp 10 days after April 12 to give time to teams to regroup and prepare.

Match pairings and format may change to ensure that the PSL will finish play by June 23.

Last Tuesday, the PSL held its doubleheader in an empty Filoil Flying V Centre.

The division Finals of the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season is suspended indefinitely.

"Though we would have wanted to hold the deciding Game 3s on Saturday, March 14, we cannot take for granted the danger COVID-19 poses to the spectators, players, team members, and MPBL staff," said commissioner Kenneth Duremdes in a statement late Thursday.

"Just like other sports organizations and events, the league's primary concern is the health and safety of the public."

In the North Division, San Juan-Go for Gold and Makati Super Crunch are level at 1-all.

Despite getting notice by the MPBL to hold the game under closed doors, the Knights still decided to open the gates of the Filoil Flying V Centre last Monday for Game 1, which San Juan won, 76-60.

The Super Crunch were supposed to play at their Makati Coliseum homecourt last Wednesday for Game 2 but the Makati city government did not gave them clearance for any sporting event to take place at the venue that resulted to the game being played behind closed doors at the San Juan arena. Makati escaped with a 91-88 victory to force a decider.

In the South, the division championship opener of Davao Occidental-Cocolife and Basilan-Jumbo Plastic series was originally supposed to be hosted at the RMC Gym in Davao City.  The game was rerouted to the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City, Davao del Norte in the last minute and the Steel eked out a series-tying 74-72 win.

The Lamitan City Gym in Basilan was a packed house on Wednesday for Game 2, with the Tigers silencing the home crowd with an 81-76 win.

Game 3s, which will be hosted by San Juan and Davao Occidental, will have to wait until the crisis is over.

"We will be closely monitoring the national situation involving COVID-19 until it is contained," said Duremdes.

As a precautionary measure, the last two San Miguel Alab Pilipinas games in the ABL were being postponed.

Alab Pilipinas was already in Singapore to play the Slingers last Sunday but the match was called off.

Jameel McKay, the recent addition to the Slingers, was held at the Immigration in Singapore upon the team's return from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. McKay is listed on the “contact list” of Singapore’s Case 113, a 42-year old French national who tested positive with COVID-19, and was on the same Turkish Airlines flight with McKay from Istanbul, Turkey to Singapore.

McKay is currently under quarantine until Tuesday.

Also called off was Alab Pilipinas' home game against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last Tuesday.  The postponements delayed the return of Justin Brownlee as Alab import.

Stephan Schrock played in an empty Rizal Memorial Stadium when the Busmen scored a comprehensive 4-0 victory over the Indonesians Wednesday night.