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PBA postpones early January games amid COVID-19 spike

As high as nearly 5,000 fans got to watch PBA games again live, but they might need to settle watching them on TV and live stream again. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The PBA is not pushing through with its games for the first full week of 2022 following the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force to place Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

The week would have begun with a Wednesday night doubleheader that would pit Magnolia and Blackwater in the first game and Alaska and Meralco in the second game.

The main attraction for the week would have been the Philippine Cup Finals rematch between the Hotshots and the TNT Tropang Giga on Sunday night.

All the games are supposed to be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

In a statement on Monday, the league said the postponement is in effect until it hears from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) allowing the league to continue its tournament," pertaining to the Governors' Cup.

GAB Chairman Baham Mitra, though, previously said that the PBA can continue on with its games but they have to be held behind closed doors for now.

"Pwede nilang ituloy ang laro pero no audience," Mitra said, although he added that the PBA has yet to reach out to them.

Under Alert Level 3, only professional sports games conducted inside GAB-approved bubbles could push through.

However, according to the PBA, it "also needs the approval of local government units (LGUs) allowing it to hold the games."

A meeting between the league, GAB, IATF, and concerned LGUs, likely those of Pasig and Quezon City, is expected within the coming days to fix the situation.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said that they were allowed to hold games in a closed-circuit format at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig at the start of the season-ending conference when Metro Manila was last placed under Alert Level 3 last November.

The league was eventually allowed to move its games to Quezon City's fabled indoor arena in late December when the quarantine status in Metro Manila loosened to Alert Level 2 for the month with fans allowed to watch live at a 50-percent capacity limit.

This led to good-sized crowds of as high as 4,843 people finally getting to see live PBA action again after 18 months.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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