PBA announces season restart on Oct. 9 in Clark

The Angeles University Foundation Gym, which hosted some events of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, will serve as the competition venue for the PBA's Clark bubble. KC Cruz

The PBA announced Thursday that it will be holding its own bubble in Clark, Pampanga in order to resume its truncated 45th season.

The Board of Governors, led by Chairman Ricky Vargas of TNT, made the announcement in a press conference held via Zoom after holding a board meeting Thursday afternoon.

"We are ready. If we'll start tomorrow, we'll start tomorrow. We're just waiting for the approvals. Anytime we're called to execute, I think the Commissioner's Office is ready to execute the opportunity of the scrimmages and start the bubble," said Vargas.

The Angeles University Foundation (AUF) gym in Angeles City, which was used in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year, will serve as the venue for the official games.

The league will be using a full bubble format, with players and crew staying in a particular venue, in this case the Quest Hotel in Mimosa, and being transported to the practice facility and playing area. Pending approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), teams will enter the bubble on Sept. 26 and will start scrimmages the following day. Two games will be played daily, seven days a week.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also said that San Miguel's opening-day win over Magnolia last March 8 will count in the standings.

"Sinabi ko noong April di ba, tinanong nyo ako, kung sa tingin ko from a scale of 1 to 10 na matutuloy, sabi ko 7 to 8. Heto na po, matutuloy na po kami, heto na po, parating na po ang PBA," added Marcial.

OTHER details announced during the press conference include:

-There will be virtual fans, just like in the NBA bubble.

-A maximum of 25 people per team will be allowed inside.

-Five media members will be allowed to cover the games in the bubble. Media will follow the same protocol as the players.

-A player who leaves the bubble will have his salary for one month withheld, he will be fined 100,000 pesos, and he will be suspended for five games the following season.

-Testing will be conducted in Clark, and will be done in accordance with DOH rules.

-All games will be shown live on One Sports and PBA Rush with livestream on ESPN5.com. Games on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday will be simulcast on TV5.

-Game schedules will be 4:00 p.m. for the first game and 8:00 p.m. for the second game.

-The full format will be a one round robin elimination, top four seeds with twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, best-of-five semifinals, and best-of-seven finals.

-The PBA is looking at three venues to serve as a practice facility. They may also opt to create a makeshift court.