MANILA, Philippines -- Other athletes, particularly the stars of the Philippine Superliga (PSL), will be keeping a close watch on the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as they resume their season this October in Clark, Pampanga.
The PBA is following in the footsteps of the NBA in restarting its season in a bubble, with the league tapping the Clark Freeport Zone as its host. Teams will be housed at the Quest Hotel, and games will be held at the Angeles University Foundation Gym.
PSL athletes will be keen observers, as their league is also eyeing a return to competition in November, with a beach volleyball tournament to be held in Subic.
"For sure, ngayon nagi-strategize na rin ang volleyball community kung paano ang pwede namin gawin," said F2 Logistics captain Abigail Maraño during an appearance on "Power and Play" last weekend.
"And siyempre, titingnan namin kung magiging successful nga itong bubble ng PBA," she added. "From there, magiging motivation ng volleyball 'yun para makapag-start kami ng maayos."
"At least, meron kaming sistema na susundan."
In its bid to restart its competition, the PBA received help from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the Clark Development Corporation, whose leaders made personal bids to the Board of Governors to host the league.
Aside from hosting the bubble, Clark will also pay for the COVID-19 testing for all 12 teams and the staff of the PBA, as well as other personnel who will enter the bubble.
According to PSL president Ian Laurel, they are planning to resume games as well, with a three-day beach volleyball tournament in the works. They are in contact with the Philippine Sports Commission, the Department of Health, and the Games and Amusements Board, and they intend to file a request to the Inter-Agency Task Force soon.
For the players, it's a tournament they have waited six months for. The PSL had to cancel its Grand Prix this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no assurance that they can hold an indoor tournament at all this year.
A beach volleyball tournament, nonetheless, will be a solid jump-off point for the league for 2021.
"We believe naman sir na 'yung PSL pinag-iisipan talaga, if mapu-push through 'yung bubble," said Jovelyn Gozaga of Cignal, who has also been one of the country's top beach volleyball bets in recent years.
"For me naman, alam naman ng lahat na it will put ourselves on the line kasi siyempre ongoing pa rin ang COVID," she admitted. "Pero excited kami lahat, in case of, and 'yun ang sinabi ko a while ago na we believe naman ipa-plan talaga 'yan ng league."
"So for now, andito na kami, continuous pa rin ang training and papawis, and we will wait for the update."