MANILA, Philippines -- The families of PBA players will not be allowed to enter the league's bubble in Clark, in contrast to what has been done by the NBA.
The families and friends of NBA players were allowed to enter the league's bubble at the Walt Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida at the start of the second round of the playoffs. In essence, the players' families replaced the teams who were eliminated from the postseason.
The PBA Board of Governors, together with commissioner Willie Marcial, opted against a similar set-up in their own bubble.
"Talagang magtitiis ang mga players, magtitiis tayo dito," Marcial said during an appearance on "Sports Page" on Monday. "Walang pamilya, walang makakapanood."
"Kasi one, hindi namin alam kung anong protocol ng probinsya. Hindi namin alam kung anong protocol ng Task Force. Kasi baka bawal talagang manood eh," he explained.
The league will be very strict in implementing health and safety protocols inside the bubble, and teams can only enter 25 people -- which already includes their 15-man roster.
And once they enter the bubble in Clark, they cannot exit.
"They cannot leave, they cannot go. If they leave, they're out," said PBA chairman Ricky Vargas in a press conference last Thursday. "That's the bubble itself."
"It's only 25 per team. If I want to go there and join the bubble, that means I am No. 25, and that takes somebody from the team," he pointed out.
Rather than including their family members -- or even team governors like Vargas -- the PBA teams are expected to bring their assistant coaches, physical therapists, and ball boys into the bubble.
"Kung 25 ang isang buong team, ang players 15. So bahala na sila sa composition ng 10, kung assistant coaches, kung PT, ball boys," said Marcial. "Ang mga PTs at ball boys, importante kasi araw-araw ang game eh. So kailangan, pakundisyon."
The teams are expected to stay in the bubble for two months. Marcial plans for teams to begin heading into Clark by September 26, and the season may last until December 9.
He guarantees that the players will be home for Christmas with their families.
"Hindi nga ako pumapayag na hanggang December 15. Pinipilit ko, December 10, December 13. Nine, 10, 13. Kasi aawayin ako ng mga pamilya ng mga player," said Marcial.