Hoping that they can still open their 46th season next month and play a two-conference schedule, the PBA, however, is also bracing for the worst.
A board meeting is scheduled for next week to address the scenarios the professional league faces and one of them cannot open in May for the Philippine Cup, which would again reduce the league to a year of conference and would do it. obligatory for the management of the league to review its finances.
This would mean cutting expenses, which could inevitably include the salaries of players and team staff and that of the commissioner’s office.
“We will discuss the financial situation [of the PBA] during this meeting as well as to assess the situation for us, ”said Commissioner Willie Marcial. “Also, and I think it’s a big problem, we need to know where we can find vaccines. [for everyone in the PBA]. “
Raging health crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sporting spiral in the country, and although the PBA was the only league to play for more than two months last year despite the raging health crisis, only one conference this year appears not be a viable proposition for its member teams.
“That (the pay cuts) is just one part; and we don’t even know if it will be discussed, ”Vice-President Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma told the Inquirer on Thursday evening by telephone. “The first thing we need to determine [in that meeting] is if we have a season, and second, what kind of season would that be.
But Rosales is aware of the realities facing the league.
“We have to put all the options on the table,” Rosales added. “We (the board) will hear all proposals [of the Commissioner’s Office] moving forward. Companies [all over the country] are suffering and we need a holistic approach to it all. For me, if we were to address the concerns of our (company) employees, that would also include our players (PBA). “
The past 17 months have seen the PBA play just those two months in an Angeles City bubble, and a repeat of that remains the league’s last resort this year, according to Marcial.
Marcial will present potential solutions to the problems facing the PBA and Al Panlilio, the representative of Meralco, said his team will comply with whatever the collegiate body decides at this meeting.
“That was a question asked last year,” Panlilio said when asked if his team would be ready for a pay cut. “It needs to be discussed at the board level, and if anything needs to be done, it should be a board decision.
“It’s a tough decision, certainly,” said Panlilio. “We have to explore all the options.”
Raymond Yu, who co-owns Rain or Shine with Terry Que, also said his team will do whatever the others decide. And like Marcial, Rosales and Panlilio, Yu is hoping that a vaccine will come not only to save the PBA season, but also to make things better in the country.
“I hope we can save at least one conference,” Yu said in a separate interview. Things turned bleak for the sport again when the National Capital Region (NCR) and four neighboring provinces were again placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which will end – supposedly – on April 11, granting that the health situation is improving.
Marcial acknowledged that the situation should at least be changed in general community quarantine in the NCR for the PBA to have a season, and “it’s two notches below the ECQ,” he said.
The commissioner knows he should give teams at least three weeks of honest training so his players can even get closer to the form of the game before the league decides on an opening day.
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