By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE PHILIPPINE Basketball Association (PBA) held team workouts for the first time this week after months of on-court inactivity and it was warmly welcomed by stakeholders.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings coach Tim Cone, for one, viewed it as a “big step” in the pro league’s push to resume and save what is left of the currently suspended season.
“We had our first practice this week and it’s good to see players back on the court. It’s only by small groups but it’s still awesome. And that’s the first big step back into what we have done,” said Mr. Cone during “The Champion Within” webinar hosted by Manulife Philippines on Wednesday.
“It was the first practice we had since March and that’s amazing. In my 30 years in coaching in the PBA I never had more than a week or two off throughout my whole career. And now we have five to six months off. So we’re really excited to get back,” he added.
The Kings were looking to do well in the All-Filipino Cup until the coronavirus pandemic suspended tournament proceedings on March 11.
Mr. Cone has not won the All-Filipino title since the 2013-14 season with San Mig Coffee while the Kings last took home the crown in the 2006-07 season, adding further fuel for both coach and the team to end the drought.
The PBA has been very busy trying to have the season back, eyeing an October return to action.
It has been working and cooperating with pertinent government agencies and other groups to make the return push a success, including in possibly holding the matches in a bubble like what the National Basketball Association (NBA) is doing.
The NBA resumed on July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, after suspending its own season for four months and is proving to be successful as not one case of the coronavirus has been reported to date.
For the planned PBA bubble, among the places being considered to host the teams and the games are the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Clark in Pampanga and the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna. Also being considered as locations are Batangas and Subic, Zambales.
Mr. Cone said he would love to see the planned PBA bubble come to fruition but admits many things have to be considered.
“I think the bubble is a possibility. There are a lot of things that go into it, particularly financially. Teams have to get hold of it really and weigh things to make sense of it all,” said the winningest coach with 22 league titles.
“But there is no doubt we want to get back to work. It’s a game we have passion for and want to play. And I hope this bubble thing becomes a fruition wherever that may be. I hope it happens and we get back to work,” he added.