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Sports vaccine

Julius Manicad

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The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is doing the country a favor by restarting its aborted season.

In these trying times, having basketball back in our living rooms is exactly what we need.

It is some sort of an escape from the harsh reality brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Seeing LA Tenorio slashing right into the heart of the defense somehow makes us forget our sick and dying loved ones or watching Paul Lee delivering those ankle-breaking dribbles makes us smile despite losing our jobs or having significant cuts in our paychecks.

Basketball is therapeutic.

How many times have we seen the PBA entertain us during the darkest chapters in our history?

Let us not forget that the heated rivalry between Crispa and Toyota amused us, prompting young players to imitate the elegant shots of Ramon Fernandez and the sweet jumpers of Atoy Co instead of worrying about curfews and reports of massive corruption.

The emergence of Ricky Brown and the fabled Northern Consolidated Cement squad also served as our escape from the economic and political impact brought by the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and EDSA Revolution, similar to how the fast and furious tandem of Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa made us ignore the countless news about natural calamities, crimes and the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada.

Simply put, the return of the PBA in this time of pandemic will bring a semblance of normalcy into our lives.

It will bring back a lot of happy memories, transporting us back to the days when we can easily hop into an MRT just to watch a blockbuster game between Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer with no mask, no quarantine pass or temperature-checking required.

The PBA moved heaven and earth just to restart the season.

For a league that is losing around P30 million every month due to the pandemic, spending a cool P65 million to house a delegation of 350 people from 12 teams in a three-star hotel for two months would definitely burn a hole in its wallet.

Worst, it has no choice, but to accept the fact that it would not be getting a single cent from ticket sales since it would be holding the games in a closed-door venue to make sure that nobody would be at risk of contracting the virus.

With no ticket sales to bank on, the league would draw bulk of its revenue from broadcast coverage and other forms of advertising like that from its digital coverage.

But — believe me — the revenue would barely be enough to make a decent profit. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the bubble expenses would definitely be far greater than what the league is about to earn.

From a business standpoint, the bubble is a suicide mission, especially for a league that already bled P180 million for six months of stoppage.

But the PBA is determined to bring back the games. At this point, profit is no longer an issue.

All the PBA is thinking of right now is how to provide entertainment — a sports vaccine — to countless of basketball-crazy Filipinos who are suffering the devastation brought by the pandemic.

It is hoping that Tenorio’s strong drive to the hole or Lee’s killer crossover would somehow bring smile to their faces and wash away their anxieties even for just a while.

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