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Commissioner Willie Marcial says PBA will wait until April 4 for decision on season opening

With Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan placed under a "bubble" for the next two weeks, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial admits the pro league is now in a "wait-and-see" mode as far as the 2021 PBA season is concerned.

"We will just have to wait for April 4 and see what will happen because by then, we will know what's our condition here in Metro Manila," Marcial told ESPN5 on Monday.

On Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases no longer allowed non-essential travel to and from Metro Manila and other nearby provinces placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 (Monday) to April 4 (Sunday).

This after COVID-19 positive cases registered 8,019 infections on Monday, the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began last year and the fourth straight day the country has recorded over 7,000 additional cases daily.

Meanwhile, Blackwater, which practices at the Aero Center Basketball Court in Quezon City, has halted team workouts for the past week already.

Coach Nash Racela admitted the spike in the COVID-19 cases in the metropolis has greatly concerned the team as well, knowing they are practicing in Quezon City, which is among the hotspots of the virus.

But Blackwater, which will be known this coming season as the Bossing, is scheduled to have its swab test on Tuesday.

"With the rising COVID numbers, we just want to make sure first that everyone attending practice will be cleared," said Racela.

Racela shared that practice these days is a challenge given the limited time the players have on the court.

"(We're doing) more on skill work and limited to only one hour per group, sometimes touching on concepts of both offense and defense," explained Racela. "One hour is quite short for the players so we plan to extend if ever once we resume."

The Joint Administrative Order signed by the IATF approving limited workouts for PBA teams is still in effect, but the local government unit has the final say when it comes to allowing the workouts.

In other developments, Blackwater team manager Jacob Munez bared that rookies Rey Mark Acuno and Joshua Torralba, whom the team selected in the second round, along with third-round draft choice Andre Paras will be inking their respective contracts already.

Acuno, the 14th overall pick of the Bossing in the rookie draft over a week ago, is a 6-7 big man out of Southwestern University. He is seen as a serviceable big man, who could take the spot of Fil-American Maurice Shaw, whom the team traded recently in the three-team deal that also involved TNT and NLEX.

On the other hand, the 26-year-old Torralba could add instant offensive spunk for Blackwater at the backcourt.

The 6-foot-2 Torralba, picked 15th overall, saw action for Emilio Aguinaldo College and La Salle before leaving in 2016 to finish his studies in the United States.

He returned to the country later and went on to join the MPBL, submitting respectable numbers of 10.7 points on 35-percent shooting from deep, to go along with 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals, contributing to Makati's North Division Finals stint in the 2020 Lakan Cup.

Paras, meanwhile, can provide defense and rebounding despite standing just 6-4.