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PBA commish Marcial sees resumption of games by June, 2-conference season possible

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial sees the league only returning to play by June. PBA Media Group (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--PBA commissioner Willie Marcial looks to resume the 45th season of Asia's premier play-for-pay basketball league in June as the entire Luzon is still reeling from the ongoing enhanced community quarantine due to the novel coronavirus.

"Ang nakikita kong pinaka-maagang balik ng PBA ay June. Kasi even if the country is able to flatten the COVID-19 curve in April or May, I have to give our teams a month of practices before we resume play," Marcial said via the PBA website on Sunday night.

The ECQ is scheduled to end by Easter, but an extension of the said lockdown to late April is looming with top government official, doctors, and scientists backing the said move.

"Hindi natin alam kung gaano katagal tatagal ito. Sana matapos na, at mawala na ang health threat. Pero hindi pa rin tayo makakabalik agad-agad," Marcial continued.

Only one game took place so far in the season, the opening night match between San Miguel and Magnolia on March 8.

Hours before the supposed March 11 doubleheader was scheduled to begin, the PBA announced that it will postpone games indefinitely.

[Related Story: PBA postpones games due to COVID-19]

He later announced that all the team practices and other related activities are also postponed until further notice.

[Related Story: PBA stretches break on team practices as COVID-19 continues to haunt PH]

With play likely resuming only by June, it is now possible that the PBA will only have two conferences this season if it wants to finish as scheduled by Christmas season or early next year.

On how the league will move on from the ECQ will depend on an online meeting by the league's board of governors early this week.

"Chairman Ricky Vargas has called a video conference. The board will assess the situation and will make a thorough study kung ano ang magandang gawin," Marcial bared.

D-League Aspirants Cup now hangs in balance

Meanwhile, the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup could be facing a complete cancellation.

The season opening conference in the developmental league, which features 11 collegiate teams and one club, has only played two triple-headers prior to its indefinite postponement.

Assuming the D-League, like the PBA, resumes play by June, the collegiate teams will have a short time preparing for their respective mother leagues, the NCAA, UAAP, NAASCU, and the UCBL.

The NCAA is looking to start its 96th season by August, while the UAAP will open Season 83 in September.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_