PBA to make a decision on 2020 season in August

The PBA will wait until August before deciding the fate of the 2020 season as the league's officials continue to await future mandates by the government in the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Commissioner Willie Marcial shared the development after a teleconference meeting with all members of the Board of Governors on Saturday -- their second online gathering after initially agreeing to cut the season to a maximum of two conferences last April 7.

"We'll decide whether to postpone or to save the season even for at least one conference by August," he told ESPN5.com in Filipino.

Directives by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will continue to restrict the PBA and other major sports leagues from operating even after the National Capital Region currently under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) shifts to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).

In response to this, Marcial said the league has unanimously passed a freeze period on all player transactions until the league restarts its schedule in the future.

"No trades will be executed, no new players will be signed, and no team will sign someone from the free agency pool," he explained.

Marcial, however, clarified that teams can still re-sign players whose contracts have expired.

Teams can also decide not to extend an offer sheet during the season suspension and will be able to keep the rights of the said players, but only until the fifth day after the first official practice.

"Teams will need to have the offer sheet signed by the player or they'll risk losing the player to free agency," he explained.

Meanwhile, resuming play will all depend on the government, which imposed a ban on mass gatherings and "sports-related gatherings not limited to trainings, games, tournaments (and) championships" -- effectively ruling out the possibility of PBA teams practicing or playing behind closed doors.

Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, however, hopes the government considers relaxing its stance on the said ban.

"We are hoping the [government] will be considerate in allowing closed-door games not only (for) basketball but also (for) other sports like volleyball. Hope it doesn't happen when teams of various leagues will start announcing leave of absences in their respective leagues," he said in a text message. "This will shatter the spirit of our masang Filipino, and how can we heal as one?"

ESPN5's Richard Dy contributed to this report.