Heading into the new season, the PBA will be altering three specific rules to help the game flow better while also making sure that teams will not pay a heavy price in case the referees miss goaltending violations.
The biggest rule change shared by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is that the league will now follow FIBA's ruling on traveling violations.
The FIBA rule on traveling states that "a player who catches the ball while he is progressing, or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing, or shooting the ball." The new addition to the rule will be what's popularly called step-0 in basketball parlance.
"The first step occurs when one foot or both feet touch the court after gaining control of the ball," the FIBA rulebook reads.
This means that unless the player has complete control of the ball, the referee will not start counting the two steps that are allowed.
"We decided to adapt the FIBA ruling because PBA players get the raw end of the deal," the PBA Commissioner said. "We're not used to having an extra step and it showed in the last FIBA games so we'll adapt the rule.
According to Marcial, this rule change will allow PBA players to assimilate themselves better to international basketball rules while also making the game more exciting. Great ball handlers and finishers such as Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Stanley Pringle could benefit greatly from this rule change as they will technically get an extra step to finish around the rim or step back for jumpers like what James Harden is allowed to do in the NBA.
Another big rule change centers around reviews for goal-tending violations. Right now, the rule is that unless there is a call on the floor, the table officials will not be able to look at the replay of the shot.
The updated rule will allow the technical officials to look at every close call with or without a whistle from the referees on the floor. They will then get a chance to correct the score during dead-ball situations.
"It's now similar to our rule for three-point shots. We'll announce the correct score after the review during a dead-ball situation or at the end of quarters," said Marcial.
However, PBA Technical Director Eric Castro said that there are also limitations on the rule as they don't want games being decided by the table officials. For shots made late in games with no dead-ball situations, technical officials will not be able to review unless the referee makes a goal-tending call on the floor.
FIBA does not have a goal-tending as a part of their reviewable calls.
The last change was apparently a request from the coaches as they will now be allowed to call a timeout audibly.
The FIBA procedure on timeout states that "only a coach or assistant coach has the right to request a timeout. He shall establish visual contact with the scorer or he shall go to the scorer's table and ask clearly for a timeout, making the proper conventional sign with his hands."
"We sent a memo before saying that we need to see the gesture before granting the timeout but now we'll allow verbal communication," said Marcial.
This will now be a difference between the PBA and FIBA alongside the capability of players to call timeouts when the ball is live.
Aside from these rule changes, the PBA teams will also have to adjust to breaks over the course of the season. The first lull in PBA action will happen for the final window of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers. The second will be for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup if the Philippines qualifies. Action will also cease for the 2019 SEA Games and the PBA All-Star Week scheduled for March in Pangasinan.