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MPBL Lakan Season 'endgame' to be played in neutral venue

kobe paras kenneth duremdes jimuel pacquiao ronald mascarinas mark zambrano
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, second from left, is now looking to hold the rest of the playoffs in a neutral arena. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said on Thursday that the league may hold the remainder of its Lakan Season in a neutral arena, essentially doing away with the home-and-away format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Based doon sa napagusapan namin last night, one venue lang. We will look for a neutral venue," the PBA legend said in the ClutchPoint Podcast of veteran sportswriter Rey Joble.

Duremdes added that the regional league has already set health protocols so that only those who are tested negative for COVID-19 will be cleared for action.

He also hinted that the remainder of the season, the Game 3's of the Makati-San Juan and the Basilan-Davao Occidental series and the national finals, could be held behind closed doors, although he did not rule out the possibility of letting fans in but at a 50 percent capacity.

Regarding the broadcast of the games especially that S+A was affected by the ABS-CBN shutdown, Duremdes said that the games will still be aired via live stream in the MPBL Facebook page, although he added that they can be aired live on Liga since ABS-CBN's cable TV affiliates are still on air.

"As long as it's live, we're OK," he quipped.

Despite the plans made, Duremdes admitted that doing so is easier said than done.

"It's hard to plan everything dahil nakadepende tayo sa guidelines ng government natin kung ano ang ia-allow nila and when," he continued.

Duremdes even rued that the chance of holding of the fourth season of the regional league is now bleak, citing conflicting rumors on when mass gatherings can finally be allowed.

"May mga bali-balita [na by] October, pwede na ang mass gatherings, but may balita rin na December. If that happens, sigurado ang next season, wala na. Mahihirapan na," he further quipped.

Duremdes added that there are other factors that the MPBL will look at before it can finally make a say if Season 5 pushes through or not.

"Marami tayong iko-consider: mass testing sa players, airline industries [kasi] walang byahe, hotel accommodation and public transportation wala lahat, ang permit natin sa LGU's kasi we're using the LGU's arenas," the commissioner enumerated the major considerations.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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