As Metro Manila is set to go under stricter quarantine status in three days owing to surging infections caused by Corona virus Delta variant, the PBA has decided to suspend its conduct of the games in a development that could derail the league’s timetable for what has already been an abbreviated 46th season.
Its elimination round already marred with several games’ suspension in accordance with its own Health and Safety Protocols approved by health authorities, the league made the advisory early Tuesday in support of the government’s directive in addressing the rise in COVID cases in Metro Manila.
Metro Manila, focal point of spike in Delta variant that originated from India, has already been put under GCQ with heightened restrictions from July 30 to August 5.
The Big City will eventually be placed under stricter ECQ status starting August 6 to August 20 in an intensified battle following the local transmission of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country.
During this 15-day lockdowns, movement in the Metro Manila would be very limited, and league commissioner Willie Marcial said they are hoping the league would get the go-signal to move to Batangas at soonest possible time.
Upon learning that Manila and suburban areas are to go under stricter ECQ a few days back, the league has immediately sent letter to the Department of Health, asking clearance to move to Lipa, Batangas so it would be able to continue holding games.
But the league is still waiting for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF EID) decision regarding its request to temporarily transfer and continue its games in Lipa, Batangas.
“Hindi natin alam kung kailan,” was how Marcial answered when asked when would the league get clearance from the Department of Health and the IATF-EID.
The league had suspended several games in the elimination in accordance with its own health protocols and Marcial said he has no idea when they would resume the games.
“Depende kung kailan tayo papayagan,” said Marcial.
The suspension will cover today’s triple-header at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City where Talk ‘N Text, which missed several games after going into 10-day quarantine, is set to play Blackwater Bossing.
The two other games supposedly set today pit NLEX versus Meralco, and Phoenix versus Terrafirma Dyip.
Experts believe Metro Manila is currently in the “early stage” of another spike in the COVID-19 cases.
The league is not about to resort to another expensive bubble like what it did last year when it held—and completed—the whole Philippine Cup in Clark, Pampanga.
Barangay Ginebra captured the title in that Clark bubble, beating Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (now Tropang Giga) in five games.