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A PBA idea worth looking into

Column box-Al Mendoza-That’s All

SOMEONE exceedingly knowledgeable in sports told me recently: Why not hold the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games in three separate venues this year?

Come again, buddy?

“Three separate venues,” he said.  “And each venue will have four PBA teams playing.”

Meaning, the 12 teams will be divided into three, resulting into four squads herded into one arena each to battle in a double-round robin affair.

Which three battlefields would be ideal?

“Four teams each playing in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” he said.  “Top teams after two rounds advance, gathering them into one venue, if possible, where they will resume hostilities all the way to the finals.”

He said Mindanao’s Davao could be it for the first bubble. Cebu or Iloilo in the Visayas.  In Luzon, a tossup between tested Clark in Pampanga or Batangas City.

Any of the three venues can be selected as the final arena after the eliminations.

I think my friend’s idea sounds sane.  It is not only innovative and creative, it is extraordinarily logical as well.

It even puts the PBA closer to all the peoples of the archipelago.  After all, isn’t the PBA national?

There is no debate that virus infections are that serious in Metro Manila and the four provinces surrounding it—thus the various levels of lockdowns being imposed on them.

With the league’s games and 12 teams being distributed in three spots with few virus visits, we observe safety protocols to the hilt—naturally.

As things stand now, practice games for the 12 PBA teams are more likely to be held in Batangas City in the run-up to the league’s projected opening in June.

Well and good.

Batangas City has always been the favored one.  For one, it has three quality arenas, plus class hotels.  For another, the city is more than willing to host the PBA, Commissioner Willie Marcial being the city’s pride and joy long before Ginebra spitfire LA Tenorio was born on July 9, 1984.

If Clark won’t be available for the PBA 46th season, I’d go for Batangas all the way.  Call me biased.  I have always adored the city’s kalderetang kambing.

THAT’S IT   Junna Tsukii, the Fil-Japanese karateka, might yet make it to the Tokyo Olympics in July after winning the gold recently in the kumite 50-kg event in Lisbon, Portugal.   She formalizes her Games’ stint with another victory in the Paris Olympic qualifying on June 11 to 13, joining Filipino Olympic qualifiers pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, lifter Hidilyn Diaz, and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam.

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