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PBA seeks guidance from MMDA on season opening

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial met with several government officials on Wednesday to seek advice regarding forming several key protocols to help jumpstart the league's 46th season.

Meeting with Marcial at the MMDA office in Makati were Chairman Benhur Abalos, General Manager Jojo Garcia, Testing Czar Sec. Vince Dizon, and Games and Amusements Board head Baham Mitra.

Discussed were the possible reconfiguration of the league's protocol during games to acclimatize the situation posed by playing inside the NCR+ bubble, scrimmages, vaccination, and a possible July starting date.

"[The government officials] will help us start our season," explained Marcial, adding that he will write to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) soon to seek permission to start.

Meanwhile, Abalos explained to ESPN5.com in an interview that helping the PBA revise its protocol would be paramount, since it will set an example for other sports leagues that are also looking to start.

"As long as we follow protocols, there is no problem in starting competition," said the former Mandaluyong mayor.

"In terms of policy with the IATF, there will be a time when almost everybody in the PBA will be fully vaccinated, certain conditions can be arranged," added Abalos.

The MMDA chief suggested some concrete measures that the league could abide by, which includes weekly antigen testing, holding the games behind closed doors, and mass vaccination.

"We're always on the lookout in order to emphasize protocol. We need to form an environment that is very strict," Abalos relayed.

Per Marcial, the PBA is still fixated on either Ynares Sports Center in Pasig or Ynares Arena in Antipolo for the game venues, but is now open to also holding games at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum or Mall of Asia Arena, if only possible.

The Big Dome is currently being used by the Quezon City government as a mass vaccination facility.