THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), just like everybody else, is no immortal with Commissioner Willie Marcial admitting the league is losing no less than P30 million a month during the pandemic.
“We are really hit hard. All the businesses are affected,” Marcial told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that went online for the second week on Tuesday.
“I can conservatively say that we are losing some P30 million a month,” he told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go-For-Gold, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and powered by Smart.
The PBA played its last—and only game so far—before the lockdown last March 8 with San Miguel Beer beating Magnolia, 94-78, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. After that, everything was closed following the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With no games allowed, the PBA coffers suffered from the absence of gate receipts, sponsorships and television broadcast, according to Marcial who translated the loss to P1 million a day.
“This crisis spared no one,” he said.
To cope up to the situation, Marcial said the PBA had to utilize its reserves.
“Good thing we have our savings,” he said. “This is a huge sacrifice, but no one wanted this.”
All the PBA could do now, Marcial stressed, is to wait for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the return of basketball.
With the year already halved, Marcial said the league is now more bent at a one-conference 45th season, which could run in the last quarter of the year. He said the PBA Board of Governors would decide in August whether to resume or scrap the season.
But Marcial is optimistic of a return.
“There is a very good chance the league will be able to restart operations and hold even just a conference for its 2020 calendar,” he said. “In a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I say a return is ranked No. 7.”
The PBA D-League also knelt during the pandemic and according to the league’s deputy commissioner and operations head Eric Castro, who also guested in the forum, a return would depend on the IATF.
The PBA has submitted its recommendations for a return-to-play scenario in the absence of a vaccine for the virus its utmost concern is on how to address health precautions once training is allowed by the IATF.
Marcial said he is confident a return-to-training or return-to-play approval from the IATF would cascade to practically all sports in the country.
“Once we get the IATF’s now, other sports—like football and volleyball—would slowly return to training or action,” he said.
“The PBA would be a gauge for most other sports. We could set as a model for other events,” Castro said. “So I hope the IATF considers our request. It won’t be abrupt, it would be step-by-step.”
The PBA is also pinning its hopes on the NBA’s return on July 31 as well as the major football leagues in Europe and Asia.
“They [NBA, etc.] would be a big help to our cause,” Marcial said.
The NBA, English Premiere League and German Bundeliga—as well as leagues in China, South Korea and other parts of Europe and Asia—have resumed or scheduled resumption of games in stadiums without fans.