Jordan Heading (No. 15), Terrafirma’s first choice in Gilas’ special draft, turned heads in two stints with the national team at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia. —PHOTO WITH PERMISSION FROM FIBA
Armed with a successful vaccination campaign and a reduced COVID-19 infection rate among players, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is finally hoping to get the green light from the government to begin its 46th season this month.
“We could be called next Wednesday or Thursday,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer on Saturday evening, optimistic that the Interagency Working Group for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is finally allowing the league to ‘organize official matches soon. , giving the PBA the chance to hold two conferences.
The PBA’s vaccination campaign has been a success and the commissioner expects that by next week only five percent of the league’s players remain to complete their vaccination.
“By next week, around 95% of the group of players will have received their second dose of the vaccine,” he said.
Additionally, since five infections were reported among gamers last week, only one has been added to that number. Marcial also said fans are calling for the league to return, especially now that Gilas Pilipinas’ stint in international competitions is over.
“The fans have asked when we are going to start,” Marcial said.
The national team had temporarily sated the public’s hunger for basketball, for which Marcial was grateful. Gilas Pilipinas also unveiled a few future stars among his PBA rookies, including goalkeeper Jordan Heading, Terrafirma’s first choice in the special draft that wowed fans with strong performances in the recent Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia.
The status of Heading and other PBA rookies in the domestic pool is also expected to be resolved once the league gets the green light to begin.
National coach Tab Baldwin, who is also program director Gilas Pilipinas, said the PBA and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas are to discuss the status of the PBA rookies who are part of the national pool, which is now ready to move on. prepare for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asian Cup in August.
The PBA plans to end its season in the middle of this month, with the Ynares center in Antipolo City and the Ynares sports complex in Pasig City as potential venues.
If the league can do it, Marcial is confident to host a two-conference season that ends in January.
Marcial is aware that the government’s agreement will depend on the daily cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Last week’s average is 5,908 new cases per day, a significant drop from the summer increase. INQ
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