PBA hopes to start Season 46 after FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

The PBA could now be looking at a Season 46 tip-off shortly after the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers next month.

Commissioner Willie Marcial on Friday said that the league will find a way to open its two-conference season after the conclusion of the June tournament hosted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) in Angeles, Pampanga.

"There's still no set date," he explained in Filipino. "But if things are running smoothly sometime after the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, then maybe we can present an opportunity for a season opener around that time. We'll see."

The Philippines will play host to 10 countries for the third and final window of the qualifying tournament from June 16 to 20. A total of 13 games will be played at the Angeles University Foundation Gym -- the same venue the PBA used for the hosting of the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble.

Until then, Marcial said the league's top officials will bide their time and pour all their efforts into making sure that the ongoing closed-circuit scrimmages are successful.

"Everyone is doing well up north and in Batangas. There haven't been any problems so far," he shared.

Five more teams started holding scrimmages in three venues in Batangas on Friday. TNT, and Meralco traveled to Laoag, Ilocos Norte for their own build-up, while NLEX set up its own training camp in Clark.

Marcial bared that an additional venue in Laurel, Batangas could be prepared by the PBA next week for three to four teams currently practicing in the city.

"The venue is Splendido Hotel. We'll take a look at it next week," he shared. "But I'm not sure how many teams will be left in Batangas City once we prepare that location. Maybe five or six will continue practicing in the three original venues.