Players rally behind ‘bubble’ option, which could lock them down for 2 months

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Representatives of players of all 12 PBA teams on Wednesday declared their willingness to stay two months inside a “bubble” and help the league restart its 45th Season.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the team reps gave him the assurance that all the players would play in that kind of setup and actually asked that the league do away with the “closed circuit” concept, the first idea that the commissioner’s office floated when play was shuttered in March.

“All of them said that they would be willing to play in a bubble, or a semi-bubble,” Marcial said. “They (players) actually asked to do away with the closed circuit concept.”

“It was important to hear the side of the players,” he added. “Their input is valuable to us especially they’re the ones going to play and entertain the PBA fans.”

The league’s board of governors will have the final say on the matter, as costs, according to an Inquirer source, could come in as a huge factor.

A closed circuit gives players some leeway as they can still go home to their families. The other bubble is similar to that of the NBA where the PBA contingent will be holed up in just one area, while the semi-bubble concept will have the players and staff staying in a hotel and transported to the game venues.

Marcial had hinted that there are a number of places where the PBA can mount its bubble, with a place outside of Metro Manila looming as a viable option. The Smart Araneta Coliseum, which has a hotel nearby and has one of the best hard courts in the land, is one of the favorites.

Under the strict bubble system, which the NBA has successfully instituted at Disney World in Florida, team members would stay there for as long as two months just to be able to crown a Philippine Cup champion.

The next step for the PBA is to seek clearance from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the only government body that can give any league the go signal to play.

After getting clearance to hold individual practices, Marcial is now in the process of seeking clearance for full contact scrimmages.


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