The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) board of governors moved to adopt a “semi-bubble” format for the resumption of its postponed season.
The 12 member teams will travel to Angeles City in Pampanga to converge for the season restart scheduled for Oct. 9.
The clubs will be billeted at the Quest Hotel in the city’s Clark district, while all the games will happen at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports and Cultural Center.
“We’re ready and we’re excited,” PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas said on Thursday after a meeting that approved the revised tournament format.
In the semi-bubble, the teams will only travel from the AUF Gym to Quest Hotel and vice versa.
Aside from the strict travel guidelines, other coronavirus disease 2019 safety protocols will be implemented during the semi-bubble.
“If they go out, they will not have salaries for a month, they will be fined P100,000 by the PBA, and they are suspended for five games in the next season,” Commissioner Willie Marcialsaid of the penalties to be slapped to erring players.
While the season is the Philippine Cup in essence, the PBA board moved to adopt the Governors’ Cup playoff format for the postseason.
The top four teams after the regular season will gain twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals, while the Final 4 will engage in two best-of-five semifinals with the winners advancing to the best-of-seven finals.
The result of the only match played so far this season, San Miguel’s 94-78 victory over Magnolia on March 8, will remain credited, which means the PBA will restart with the remainder of the regular season.
Two games will be played every day during the regular season, while daily games will also happen in the first two rounds of the playoffs, meaning the “compact” PBA season is expected to end before Christmas.
In line with the preparation for the season restart, the PBA has sought permission from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to resume scrimmages by Sept. 27.
The teams are scheduled to depart for Angeles by Sept. 26.*PNA