By Al S. Mendoza
THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) may yet be moved again from its April 18 opening to possibly early May.
No worries. The PBA’s fate will always be dependent on health protocols in Metro Manila and its environs.
With the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) in full force in the NCR+ to include Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna, movement of both men and machine in these areas are being strictly monitored.
A super severe curfew is even being implemented now from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. due to the unusually high spike of COVID-19 infections in the 16 cities and one municipality comprising Metro Manila.
If no clear improvement will happen despite the drastic action, the curfew—and possibly more lockdowns in virus-rich barangays in the metropolis—might be extended beyond April 4.
As I was saying, the PBA games will always be affected because, mainly now, the league has decided to stage its 46th season in the Metro Manila area.
For, while the Clark bubble proved to be smashingly successful in 2020, it cost the PBA tons of money.
Indeed, health is wealth—you need a lot of money to stay healthy.
In short, the PBA spent a fortune to ensure that its 45th year was held generally virus-free.
But desperate times need desperate measures as the saying goes.
And so, the PBA has chosen the Ynares Center in Antipolo City to hold its 2021 games.
“Much cheaper there,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.
There will be no more bubble as PBA teams will be required to observe the P-2-P scheme aka Point-To-Point.
Meaning, players, coaches and all PBA personnel, including referees, will leave home for the Ynares Center and, after the games, they go straight home. No side trips of any kind allowed.
Good enough. That way, the chance of infection is considerably avoided.
That’s basically what’s happening in the ongoing National Basketball Association (NBA) right now.
And, thus far, no major issues on the pandemic had been recorded in the world’s No. 1 basketball loop.
Injuries, though, did not spare the league, with Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the biggest casualties, thus far.
Davis is nursing a calf injury and LeBron an ankle issue. It could take weeks more before they are ready to play.
But under Frank Vogel’s brilliant coaching, the defending champion Lakers are still doing well, their bench augmented by the arrival of center Andre Drummond.
And, as to the Tokyo Olympics, it seems there’s no stopping the Japanese from pushing through with the Games’ opening some four months from now.
Already, the torch relay blasted off last week, with the first of nearly 11,000 runners taking off in Fukushima on their way to Tokyo in time for the opening ceremony on July 23.
Although it will mark the first time since the 1924 Amsterdam Olympics that international fans are banned from the Summer Games, organizers are hopeful the quadrennial event will see a successful conclusion on August 8.
The living spirit of man’s enduring love for humanity will see it through the pandemic.
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