PBA Board decides to award Best Player of the Conference for Philippine Cup

The PBA will not be handing out a Most Valuable Player award at the end of the 2020 season.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said Thursday that the league's Board of Governors will instead name a Best Player of the Conference once the Philippine Cup wraps up in the coming week or two.

"The MVP is a year-long award. That's three conferences. We only held one conference this year. The board thinks it would be a disadvantage for former MVPs who played an entire season before winning the award," he said in Filipino.

This means that San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo, who sat out the entire season to rehabilitate his right shin injury, will maintain a record streak of six consecutive MVPs.

"We also don't want an asterisk next to award because of the bubble," added Marcial.

The league will also award an Outstanding Rookie and an Outstanding First Team. The only regular trophies that will be distributed are the Most Improved Player and the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship awards.

With regard to the 2021 season opening, Marcial said the league has penciled in an April start date. A decision on whether or not next year's games will be held inside another bubble has not been made yet.

"I asked to wait until February so we can study what kind of bubble will be used, and to gauge how the economy will be at the time and whether or not there will be a vaccine by that time," he said. "There's a lot to be factored in for the season opening. So by February or March, some light will be shed."

The 2020 Rookie Draft -- which Marcial had earlier said will be named the 45th Season Draft - will be held in March. Applications will open on Monday for both local and Fil-foreign players, and the deadline for entries will be in the last week of January.

Marcial said another special Gilas draft has not been decided on just yet.

"We'll meet with the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) and the Board regarding the drafting to see if it would be like last year. We'll meet at around February for that," he explained.

In other matters, the PBA is eyeing a January or February opener for the 3x3 league.

The league will also soon tackle the pitch made by the East Asia Super League (EASL) on having PBA teams join its home-and-away league next year.

"They made a presentation earlier, but the board will still have to talk about that. (EASL chief executive officer) Matt Beyer and (chief financial officer) Henry Kerins were there," said Marcial.

A home-and-away league format will run for five months, with the champion and runner-up teams from the PBA, China, Japan and South Korea making up the eight teams for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.

The eight squads will be divided into two groups. Each team will play six home-and-away games from October 2021 to January 2022, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Final Four in Macau in February 2022.