General Admission

PBA is on; Lakers seen winning the NBA crown

By Al S. Mendoza


WE copy the good. We discard the bad.

That is the obvious slogan now of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association).

Sidelined for almost eight months, the PBA is finally having its own restart similar to the NBA restart on July 31.

But while the NBA holed itself up at Lake Buena Vista at the ESPN Walt Disney complex in Florida, the PBA found Clark Freeport in Pampanga as its main refuge.

Hotels in Clark will become the home of PBA players, coaches and team staffs beginning from today (October 11) up to December.

Games will be played in a university gym some minutes away by bus from Clark, with the PBA staking the Philippine Cup won the last five years by San Miguel Beer.

It’s a point-to-point system for the PBA wherein teams leave their hotel straight to arena and back to hotel right after the game.

No dine-outs.  Not even whistle-stop snacks done on the way.

Food for all the PBA bubble occupants is brought to the one-person only hotel rooms.

Even my fellow journalists, including photographers, covering the games go through the PBA protocols, a sacrifice that will separate them from their families for the next three months or so.

All registered PBA personnel—from player to water boy to team physician—are not allowed to leave Clark until the Philippine Cup has produced a champion.

Violators are not allowed entry back to the bubble and fined no less than P100,000.00.

Players sneaking out face game suspensions, too—imposed upon their return in the next conference next year.

Two players of note—Calvin Abueva and June Mar Fajardo—take separate routes in the bubble.

Abueva will be back for Phoenix when his indefinite ban for rough play and gender sensitive antics was lifted by the Games and Amusements Board.

Just right.  As I keep saying, everybody deserves a second chance.

But once the guard, monikered “The Beast,” commits another beastly act, whether on or off the court, he will be canned for life.

To his credit, Abueva is a very talented player.  A pity if he allows his dirty game to rule his mind—again.

That means goodbye for him—forever.

As for Fajardo, the Beermen’s 6-foot-10 pillar, he will have to continue sitting out the conference as his leg injury remains unhealed.

With his absence, San Miguel Beer’s defense of its five-year winning streak will be put to an acid test.

Suddenly, all of SMB’s rival 11 teams have a strong chance of snapping the Beermen’s domination of the All-Filipino Cup.

Meanwhile, I had predicted of a Los Angeles Lakers victory on Saturday (yesterday) over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals’ Game 5.

Going to that match, the Lakers were 3-1 over the Heat, needing just one win in their seven-game series to wrap up their 17th NBA title in the league’s 74th season and their first since 2010.

Only when LeBron James and Anthony Davis failed to show up did the Heat survive the Lakers yesterday, and force a win to cut the deficit to 3-2.

But I simply don’t see James and Davis slowing down after combining for 51 points and 25 rebounds in their Game 4 victory last Wednesday.

Believe in the Deadly Duo.

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