PBA's inaugural 3x3 season gets board approval; 18 teams eyed

Plans for the staging of the PBA 3x3 league's inaugural season have finally been approved by the Board of Governors and will now be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for clearance.

Tournament chairman Dickie Bachmann confirmed the development on Thursday and said that he hopes a target of 18 teams can see action "a week before the opening of the 5x5 (season) or at the same time." The tentative date for the 46th Season opening is on Apr. 9.

"We are very excited in launching the PBA 3x3. It's about time that PBA added a new format in their umbrella. This will help PBA and the SBP, and more importantly create more jobs for the Filipino athletes," he said in a text message.

Bachmann said the PBA will be sending a letter to the IATF to determine if the 3x3 season, which will follow a three-conference format, can be held in a bubble or not.

"If it's a non-bubble tournament, there will be five one-day legs plus one grand finals per conference," he explained. "If the IATF informs us that a bubble is needed, then we are also prepared. The bubble will be for 13 days -- three two-day legs plus one two-day grand finals."

Six guest teams will join the 12 additional PBA squads in competing for a championship.

"PBA teams will be tapping free agents and players from the draft, and since eligibility for FIBA 3x3 is more relaxed, we can allow Fil-Ams who only have Filipino passports," said Bachmann.

The league already has a number of venues in mind, including the SMX Convention Center in Pasay.

"SMX is one of our choices, but we are negotiating. If the IATF would allow us to hold it in a mall, then we can do that too," he said.