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Willie Marcial looking at 'at least 2 conferences' for PBA '21

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is still hoping that at least one import conference will push through this year. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—PBA commissioner Willie Marcial remains hopeful that both the two import spiced conferences will resume for the upcoming season.

The current PBA chief told Former Commissioner Noli Eala in the latter's Power and Play radio program on Saturday that the league will observe if a three-conference 2021 calendar is feasible amid the COVID-19 pandemic especially with the vaccine already out.

"Titignan natin kung kakayanin natin yang three conferences," Marcial said.

According to him, however, the likeliest scenario is a two-tournament season, the Philippine Cup and a reinforced conference.

"Baka at least two conferences lang ang magagawa natin," Marcial added, citing that the FIBA Asia Cup schedule, assuming Gilas Pilipinas Men qualify, will also factor in the final fixtures.

The two-conference format was actually a brainchild of Eala during his time as commissioner in the late 2000's, also citing national team schedule as one factor behind it.

When Chito Salud took over as commissioner, the PBA returned to the classic three-conference format which only got an exception last year when only the Philippine Cup was played amid the pandemic inside a bubble in the Clark area.

Regarding the import tournament, Marcial said that the league will wait until the midyear to find out how the protocols regarding the foreign player recruitment will work especially with the United States being among the first countries to procure the COVID-19 vaccine.

The PBA is eyeing to open its 46th season right on its 46th founding anniversary on April 9.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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