PBA assessing several sites for possible 'bubble'

The PBA announced Tuesday at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that it is considering several locations for a possible "bubble" when it resumes its games.

According to PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, the league is scouting locations, such as Quezon City (Smart-Araneta Coliseum) Laguna (INSPIRE Sports Academy), Clark, Pampanga, and Batangas for its "bubble."

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said that he already gave deputy commissioner Eric Castro orders to assess the different locations. The league will present its findings to the board on Thursday.

"Lalatag ko sa (governors) tapos titingan namin kung ani pinakamagandang option," said Marcial.

"We don't have a choice, we have a model na - the model is the NBA," added Vargas. "We should just go ahead and move forward and look forward to the time na maglalaro tayo - whether it's the NBA way or a more innovative way... We don't want the PBA's popularity to lose out also, that we're not doing anything, our fans could be more aggressive than us and we'd like to satisfy also their concerns."

"This is a good start. We are ready to do what we have to do. Our next board meeting will focus on plans of the commissioner to talk about a way of beginning the conference so we can start early and letting the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] know and the rest of the government agencies," Vargas added.

TNT, which hopes to being practicing Tuesday, is looking to test the concept themselves by holding its training camp in Laguna for three weeks.

Marcial bared that several teams had already started practicing Tuesday, such as Ginebra, Rain or Shine, Alaska, Blackwater, and San Miguel Beer.

"I think most teams are beginning to practice following the very strict protocols that have been set up by the PBA and the Board of Governors. Our Commissioner Willie will police this process - his task is to go around all the practice areas and to watch over the protocols of the teams," said Vargas.

The PBA D-League, since it is an amateur one, will not yet be allowed to return, following the joint administrative order of the DOH, GAB, and PSC. Scrimmages will be the only thing allowed among all 12 teams, and no tuneup games will be allowed.

A possibility of a shortened Philippine Cup is still up in the air, but the PBA will present a full and abridged schedule to the Board for their approval.

Scheduling conflicts may also be in play with league coveror TV5, since it broadcasts the league four days a week. If the PBA does resume and show games on a daily basis, One Sports and PBA Rush are very much available to cater the demand for games. Furthermore, if games will be played daily, the eliminations could wrap up in a month or so.

Vargas said the league has been talking with the TV5 and Cignal TV regarding coverage.

With financial implications making an impact not only to the league but the teams as well, Vargas said that the teams' equity is still intact.

"Over the past six months, we've managed really well without touching the equity without revenue. TV revenue has not been coming in. Once we start even without the gate receipts, papasok na ang TV revenue. Pag pumasok yun, that's a big breather for us," said Vargas.

ESPN5's JC Ansis contributed to this report.