The PBA seeks to give fans a fitting Christmas present with the return of live audiences at games starting December.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial hopes to have fans back in the stands for the first time in nearly two years after the league kicks off the Governors’ Cup tentatively on November 28.
Marcial said the PBA will ask the national government’s coronavirus task force to allow fans to watch the games in-person following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Metro Manila under Alert Level 2.
“The players play better and the atmosphere in the venue is energetic when there are fans,” Marcial said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum on Tuesday, November 9.
“I’ve been dreaming of this for a long time.”
The PBA last allowed live audiences in venues in March 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
It staged the rest of the 2020 Philippine Cup inside a bubble setting in Clark, Pampanga, after a seven-month delay brought by the pandemic.
The PBA returned to Manila and staged the start of the 2021 Philippine Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City but was forced to finish the conference in Bacolor, Pampanga, due to the rise in COVID-19 Delta cases.
Marcial said the PBA will discuss with the government the maximum seating capacity and the protocols to be observed.
“We will sure have a game on Christmas Day so we will provide promos and free tickets for fans if the [task force] permits,” he said.
The proposal for the Governors’ Cup is to open the conference at the Ynares Arena, but Marcial said there is a possibility of eventually holding the games at bigger venues like the Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re looking into going back to normal for the upcoming conference,” Marcial said. – Rappler.com