PBA to spend P65 million for Clark bubble

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2020 02:27 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Basketball Association will spend close to P65 million for the bubble it is setting up in Clark, Pampanga for the league's restart this October while the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

In an interview on Noli Eala's Power and Play show, PBA Board chairman Ricky Vargas said bulk of the budget would be spent on the teams' accommodations and food. 

"The commission has always stayed away from that question but I'll tell you, close to P65 million... Ang pinakamalaking parte sa cost is the accommodation and the food," said Vargas.

The league actually was able to cut down the cost by getting discounts, he said. They were also able to get free testing kits required for the players.

"Thanks to Clark even the testing is for free, (the cost) could have been more than that," said Vargas.

The PBA Board has elected to hold its bubble in Clark where it would be restarting the All-Filipino Cup on October 9.

Vargas said Clark became their pick among 20 candidates.

"There were about 20 [venues] that we spoke to that want to host the games and do the bubble. Then we brought it down to a manageable 4 to 6, then we had 4 who made their presentation, then there was 3 then there was one," he said.

The players' safety, of course, were among factors considered for the choice. Another condition was the connectivity needed for the games' broadcast.

"Unang una safety: do they have enough space for us to assure safety, number 2 the medical facility is also important... number 3 was the cost, it is important for us as well. The facilities not only in the playing court but also their well being. Fifth was the communication, there has got to be strong connectivity because it will be broadcast," he said.

The league is just waiting for approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) before pushing through with its plans.

The teams will stay at the Quest Hotel, with games to be held at the Angeles University Foundation, a venue 10 minutes away from the hotel. Each team will have a dedicated bus, and the league is looking at three different practice venues as well.

According to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, 2 games will be held every day, with the top 4 teams after the elimination round earning a twice-to-beat advantage. The semifinals will be a best-of-5 affair, and the finals will be a best-of-7.