PBA D-League cancels season, expects to return next year
"Next year na ulit yung D-League natin," PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said on Tuesday after D-League Aspirants’ Cup’s postponed season was shelved.
The commissioner expressed optimism about the envision resumption of the league next year after its first conference was postponed in March due to the pandemic outbreak.
Only eight games across three playdates were held, with Builders Warehouse-UST, EcoOil-La Salle, and Marinerong Pilipino seizing the early Aspirants Cup lead with 2-0 records.
In August, the PBA had set a deadline to decide on whether to push through with the league cup this year, however, the IATF for Emerging Infectious Diseases only allowed professional teams to return to practice and eventually resume their games.
With only professional teams permitted by the government, it became a problem for the PBA D-League as 11 of the 12 participating squads in the Aspirants’ Cup were school-based teams and only Marinerong Pilipino was considered as a club team in the field.
“Mahirap para sa atin kasi karamihan ng players, amateurs eh. And then of course, majority ng kasali this conference ay collegiate teams at hindi pa sila pinapayagan ng gobyerno na makabalik kahit sa practice o scrimmage pa lang,” Marcial said.
Commissioner Marcial promised to the teams who continue to commit their participation in the next PBA D-League season next year that they have already secured their spots once the developmental league returns.
“Kasama na sila dun sa 12 teams. Sigurado na sila na kasali pag bumalik yung D-League. Parang naka-deposit sa amin yung participation fee nila,” he said.
PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro has high hopes that the action in the PBA D-League can return soon.
“The PBA D-League is there to serve as a springboard for our amateur players to get the necessary exposure they need before they make the jump to the PBA, and it’s a testament, too, that collegiate teams have taken advantage of the heightened competition we have in preparation for their mother leagues,” he said.
“So, we’re all wishing for everything to go back to normal so that we can stage D-League tournaments again.”