Matt Salem of Terrafirma (left) battles Pioneer Pro Tibay’s Gian Abriga for the loose ball in the PBA’s 3×3 event that was being played at press time. —PBA IMAGES

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to announce on Monday a new opening date for its season-ending Governors’ Cup.

Unfortunately, it might not be able to accommodate fans just yet.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial bared the developments ahead of his sit-down with his technical committee on Sunday night.

“I’m set to meet with my technical staff right after today’s 3×3 tournament,” he told the Inquirer over the phone.

“We’re going to make the announcement tomorrow as to when we’re finally going to start,” the league chief added.

When the season-ending tournament lifts its curtains, however, it is unlikely to open its doors. For now.

“There’s a big chance that we might hold off accommodating fans in the early phases of the tournament,” Marcial said.

The latest guidelines from the national government’s pandemic task force says that local government units (LGU) will have final say on the the hosting of contact sports.

The Metro Manila Council, which is composed of the region’s 17 local executives, has since recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to require vaccination among players and spectators in a bid to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

“We’ve been called upon by several LGU councils to discuss how we’re going about accommodating fans,” he said.

Brownlee arriving

At the very least, however, an opening date draws the league closer to its bid of finishing this season with two conferences after settling for just one tournament in its first foray into the pandemic era.

This comes at the heels of the scheduled arrival of Justin Brownlee, Ginebra’s resident import who is scheduled to plane in on Tuesday.

Brownlee, along with Tony Bishop Jr., Meralco’s replacement for Shabazz Muhammad, are the only imports who have yet to arrive in the country. Rain or Shine’s Henry Walker is the latest to arrive and is expected by the Painters to join its practices this week.

Marcial had said the opening date of the Governors’ Cup would hinge on the arrival of all imports, so that they can have time to practice with their clubs before the competition starts.

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said in earlier media reports the four-time champion Brownlee ran into a couple of speed bumps acquiring documentary paperwork.

The 33-year-old American leads a cast of a healthy mix of returnees and newcomers. Their presence brings about a semblance of normalcy as the PBA forges ahead during this new era of sports in a pandemic. INQ

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