"If the situation gets worse, we might even play just one conference. But we'll hold at least two conferences," said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on setting its sights on staging at least two conferences in 2021.

/ 4 January 2021

Marcial said the possibility of holding a one or two-conference season remains dependent on the situation of the COVID-19, the availability of the vaccine, and the participation of Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup.

The commissioner shared the details Tuesday after a video conference with the league’s board of governors, though he admitted they cannot make any decision with certainty after the Philippine government extended the measure to contain the COVID-19 until the end of April.

Titignan natin kung kakayanin natin ang three conferences,” said Marcial during an interview with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala in his Power and Play program. “Pero kung hindi, baka two. At least two conferences lang ang magagawa natin.”

The PBA has already scheduled an April 9 kickoff for its 46th season, however, the league has yet to decide on whether it will still be held under a bubble set-up just like last year in Clark or in a different setup.

The league has only calendared a Philippine Cup for now.

The PBA has already brought up the idea of holding a closed-circuit setting where teams will be strictly monitored and only allowed to travel from home to game venue or practice venue and back during the duration of the season.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua suggested conducting a Metro Manila bubble where games will be played in either the Smart-Araneta Coliseum or in smaller venues.

At this point, Marcial said he remains unsure on whether the second conference and, if possible, the third conference, will be allowed to play with imports.

The PBA usually holds a three-conference schedule which begins with the Philippine Cup followed by the two import-laden tournaments—the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup.

In the old set-up, teams are allowed to tap imports with a maximum height limit of 6-foot-10 for the Commissioner’s Cup while foreigners 6-foot-5 and under can suit in the Governors’ Cup.

“By June, July, makikita na natin ang galawan. One, papayag ba na magdala ng imports dito? Two, kapag nandito na ang imports, may quarantine pa ba? Baka may vaccine na sila pagpunta dito. Malaking bagay ‘yun kung ano ang sitwasyon nila,” said Marcial.

Marcial also said the 3×3 league will commence once the PBA starts, but the D-League season’s fate hangs in the balance and will depend on the willingness of universities to proceed with their campaigns.

“We’ll wait for the leader of these universities and see whether or not they want to continue or move the season. We’ll only decide once we find out what their decisions will be,” he explained.