PBA to open Season 46 on July 16 after IATF go-signal (VIDEO)

Photo credit: PBA | pba.ph

The Philippine Basketball Association will finally be back in action next week - or July 16 to be exact - marking the league's return from an extended hiatus after the successful Clark bubble play won by Barangay Ginebra on Dec. 9.

The country's premier cage league launches Season 46 with the Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Thursday.

For the IATF nod on the league resumption for the second time amidst pandemic, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial acknowledged the help of the IATF and key government officials led by Sen. Bong Go, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Sec. Vince Dizon, MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia, DFA Usec. Dodo Dulay, Gov. Junjun Ynares, Mayor Vico Sotto and GAB chair Baham Mitra.

Minus the traditional hoopla, the PBA ushers in the two-conference season with a triple-header on July 16 starting at 12:30 PM. It will be preceded by a simple ceremony at 11:00 AM where Chairman Ricky Vargas is to declare the season open.

Then it will run with triple-headers on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the opening of the pilot PBA 3x3 by August.

PBA 46th Season Teaser (VIDEO)

"Simula umaga hanggang gabi ang laro pag-pasok ng 3x3," said Marcial of the standalone three-a-side event.

Fans, however, will not be allowed in the venue, meaning it's a largely TV-only event just like the Season 45 Bubble PhilCup Conference.

But even minus the live crowd, everyone is looking forward to an exciting new season that will see a big influx of young blood including top draft selection Joshua Munzon of TerraFirma.

Jaime Malonzo, Calvin Oftana, Santi Santillan, Larry Muyang, Alvin Pasaol, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Brian Enriquez, Josh Torralba, Aljun Melecio, Anton Asistio, Andrei Caracut and Andre Paras are among the other new faces.

The 12 teams have been training for two months now outside NCR Plus in preparation for Season 46.

"Even two weeks ago, ready na silang bumalik sa laro. Pero ngayon, gusto muna sana nila ng tuneup matches even outside NCR before July 16. Ikli-clear natin iyan with the IATF," said Marcial.

As previously set, the Philippine Cup features a single-round-robin elimination format, with the top eight advancing to the playoffs.

Barring trouble, Marcial said the season would be over by January. (source: PBA.ph)

PBA Press Briefing (JULY 9)

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