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PBA eyes vaccination of players, personnel

MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is looking to vaccinate everyone from the players and coaches to the league employees before looking to begin its 46th season.

PBA board vice chairman Bobby Rosales said on Tuesday the plan has been discussed during their meeting the day before.

"The first order of the day as discussed in the board will be for the whole PBA family to be vaccinated," said Rosales, the governor for Terrafirma.

He added that the inoculation is crucial in determining what setup the league will be using for the upcoming season, whose opening has been postponed thrice mainly due to the recent rise in coronavirus disease 2019 cases within Metro Manila and some other provinces.

"We believe that if everybody has been vaccinated, then it might be easier for the government through the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) to allow the season to open," Rosales said. "We'd like to look at the vaccination of the whole PBA as the first option so that maybe we can get a better option than a bubble if the IATF will allow it."

While not ruling out another bubble with Commissioner Willie Marcial baring that Ilocos Norte is among the provinces which was offered to become the host, the PBA is looking at a closed-circuit type of tournament hosting for this season with the Ynares Center in Antipolo City as the main arena.

Marcial confirmed that he will meet with the IATF next week to discuss the fate of the PBA.

Regarding the vaccine shots, Rosales said procuring them would not be a problem as Manny Pangilinan, the team owner of TNT, Meralco, and NLEX, and the San Miguel Corporation, which also owns three clubs in San Miguel Beer, Ginebra, and Magnolia, have committed to buy vaccines while Marcial has sought the help of the Philippine Red Cross as well.

Marcial also hopes that the vaccines would arrive very soon so that the league can finally open its new season."

By May or June, sana magkaroon kami ng (I hope that by May or June, we already have the) vaccine," Marcial said.

Rosales added that once the vaccine finally takes full effect inside the players' bodies, the PBA can begin the season right away."

We're looking at June the earliest," he said but Marcial added that it is also possible to have the games by the last week of May.

Both officials said if the season begins within the said period, the PBA can still hold two conferences with the possibility of finishing it by February next year. (PNA)

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