Vaccination key to start of PBA’s 46th season

The opening of the 46th season will hinge on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to players, coaches, team officials and other key personnel involved in the Philippine Basketball Association.

PBA officials said this following a meeting yesterday as plans to have pay cuts and the rollout of vaccines were discussed.

Once concerned individuals are vaccinated, the PBA can start its 2021-2022 season without a hitch under regular conditions.

“We believe that if everybody is vaccinated, then it might be easier for the government and the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) to allow the season to open. But of course, we await the protocols and the guidelines coming from the IATF,” said PBA vice chairman Bobby Rosales on Zoom.

Commissioner Willie Marcial is set to meet with the IATF next to discuss the status of the PBA and the availability of the vaccines to the private sector.

The start of the 46th season was originally set on April 9. But this was delayed after the IATF put the country on Enhanced Community Quarantine and then on a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine status.

And because the start of the league remains uncertain at this time, the Commissioner’s Office has imposed a 20 percent pay cut on players, coaching staff and team managers for the time being.

Marcial said the cut will exempt the team’s utility men. Regular pay will be restored once the season gets under way again.

Rosales said the league wishes to avoid having to stage a “bubble” again, similar to what they hosted in the 45th season.

“It’s very costly. And we have to address the mental health of the coaches and the players,” said Rosales.

The league has been in talks with the Philippine Red Cross for the procurement of the much-needed shots, aside from commitments they got from businessman Manny Pangilinan and San Miguel Corporation.

There are hopes that the vaccines will be available by May or June.

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