PBA targeting June 25 opening for new season

A Season 46 start on or after June 25 appears to be the most ideal target for the PBA at the moment.

Commissioner Willie Marcial on Tuesday said that if the situation holds, any plans to kickstart a two-conference season could finally come to fruition at the tail end of next month.

"June 25 would be an OK target," he said. "But if not, we're hoping to open the season within that week or in the first week of July."

Marcial did not provide any more details in terms of logistics for the 2021 calendar, but his comments remain consistent with his statements last Friday, when he said that a season tip-off could happen after the conclusion of 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers hosted by the Philippines mid-June.

A total of 13 games will be played by 10 countries from June 16 to 20 at the Angeles University Foundation Gym, where the PBA successfully hosted the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble for nearly three months.

But Marcial reiterated that a season launch still depends on how all 12 PBA teams fare health-wise in the ongoing scrimmages.

"The scrimmages have to run smoothly so that I can present something positive to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases)," he explained. "Our success there is going to be my main selling point."

Nine teams are practicing in the province of Batangas, while three others headed up north for their own camps. TNT, and Meralco are practicing in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, while NLEX is scrimmaging in Clark.

On top of the three previous venues -- the Lyceum of the Philippines University, the Batangas City Sports Center, and the Batangas State University -- the league had previously prepared in Batangas City, three additional practice locations have been set up elsewhere by the PBA.

The courts are located in Lipa and San Jose, Batangas, though Marcial declined to provide any more specifics. Last week, the commissioner already bared that the league will also utilize the Splendido Hotel located in Laurel, Batangas.

"I just can't say where exactly these venues are because fans might flock to these places," Marcial said. "But the private gyms are great. The PBA and the Games and Amusements Board have already inspected these venues."