The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was finally given the go-signal by the Inter-Agency Task Force to push through with its 46th season on July 16 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Games and Amusement Board (GAB) first announced the IATF’s decision regarding the PBA’s long-delayed season start during the government agency’s monthly press conference on Friday morning.
“We just want to update everybody that the IATF has already approved the resumption of the PBA in their meeting yesterday. And PBA will start on July 16,” said GAB chairman Baham Mitra.
“We don’t want the league to be a problem, and we don’t want to be a burden and a problem to the PBA. We are in full support of the resumption of professional sports. However, we are of course guided by the joint admin order, which IATF has tasked us to do,” he added.
Aside from the Pasig venue, the league will also hold games at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
League commissioner Willie Marcial bared that he already had discussions with former Antipolo Mayor Jun Ynares and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.
There will be a three-day initial test for all the players and staff prior to opening day. The league will then follow a 10-day cycle instead of 14 days in a closed-circuit semi-bubble setup for the duration of the upcoming season.
Marcial also stressed that 95% of the PBA family have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Protocol violators, meanwhile, will be slapped with a P75,000 fine along with a 10-day suspension.
Tripleheaders will be held every Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The schedule, however, will shift to doubleheaders once the inaugural 3×3 tournament starts by August.
The Philippine Cup will feature a single-round-robin elimination format, with the top eight advancing to the playoffs.