PBA: Vaccinating league family a priority before opening Season 46

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) – The Philippine Basketball Association seeks to prioritize the vaccination of players, coaches, team personnel, and league employees before launching its 46th season.

"The vaccination of the entire PBA family will be the first order of the day," said league vice chairman Bobby Rosales, who is also the team governor of Terrafirma.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said on Tuesday he hopes the inoculation of team members and league employees will start in May or June.

"I hope we can have vaccines by May or June, although we're not in control of the situation," said Marcial.

The league's 46th season is supposed to start last April 18, but was postponed to an unannounced date due to the spike of COVID-19 infections in the country and the imposition of strict movement restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Rosales pointed out there will be no vaccine supply problem in the PBA community as the San Miguel Corporation and the MVP Group of Companies have pledged vaccine doses. The league earlier disclosed it is in talks with the Philippine Red Cross to procure more vaccines.

"We believe that when everybody is vaccinated, it will be easier for the government and the IATF to allow the season to open," said Rosales, who bared the PBA Board will meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force next week for its vaccination plans.

The PBA vice chairman also assured the league will not "jump into the line" in vaccinating its players, coaches, team personnel, and league employees.

Marcial also revealed that Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc has offered to host the Season 46 bubble. He also said former Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III reiterated his earlier commitment to host the PBA bubble in Antipolo City.

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"The direction of the PBA now is vaccination, we're not closing the possibility of (setting up) a bubble," Marcial said.

"Bubble is still an option on the table. It's very costly not only financially but you also have to address the mental health inside the bubble," Rosales added.