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Pampanga bubble

Enzo Flojo

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No doubt inspired by the successful bubble model introduced by the National Basketball Association (NBA), our very own Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has finally decided to resume its season by holding a bubble at the Clark Freeport and Economic Zone in Pampanga.

For now, what we can expect is for the PBA to hold what it calls a compressed All-Filipino conference, which is slated to begin in early October.

All 12 PBA squads will see action and will all stay in a single hotel inside the former Clark Air Base in Angeles, Pampanga. In all, the bubble is expected to last around two months.

That Clark was chosen is not so surprising since the 2019 Southeast Asian Games were held in nearby New Clark City, but the PBA games will actually be held at the Angeles University Foundation Gym.

Based on reports, the PBA has chosen a daily double-header schedule in an effort to fit all games in the compressed conference.

They project 49 game days in the bubble as they follow a single round-robin elimination format with the top eight squads advancing to the quarterfinals, where the top four teams in the eliminations enjoy twice-to-beat edges.

The two semifinal series will be best-of-five affairs and then we’ll see a full best-of-seven final series for the title.

With that format, we can have a maximum of 91 games — 66 in the eliminations, eight in the quarterfinals, 10 in the semis, and seven in the finals.

One interesting wrinkle of the bubble is that the PBA will hit quarantine and health protocol violators with a P100,000 fine and an automatic one-month suspension without pay.

The PBA estimates more than 300 people to be in the bubble, from the team members like players, coaches, and managers to league officials, technical staff, medical personnel, and media.

The bubble won’t be an easy thing to manage, and I wouldn’t be shocked if hiccups here and there pop up.

Having said that, I applaud the PBA for taking initiative and putting the league’s fate in its own hands instead of waiting even longer. I’m always up for a proactive approach, and that’s how I see this move.

I just hope they will really be strict with their protocols and pull off this bubble without many — or any — major hitches.

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