The PBA Bubble: What It Means to Filipino Basketball Fans and People

The PBA Bubble is an attempt by the league to provide sports-entertainment to the basketball-adoring public. It is also sports' contribution to restoring faith and confidence among our people that we're on our way to the new normal. 

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Asia's longest running professional basketball league, resumed its 45th season with the Philippine Cup Conference last 11 October 2020 under a bubble format. The bubble concept was pioneered by the National Basketball Association and has been adopted in several leagues globally, wherein athletes and relevant league staff are isolated away from the general public in a set of accommodations and venues.

Sports bubble are difficult to stage due to stringent government policies and health standard and protocols that must be followed, as well as the hefty costs associated with organizing and mounting a successful bubble. The PBA estimates to spend about Php 65 million for its Clark Bubble, despite the number of sponsorships and discounts provided to the league. Further, the PBA had to go through various layers of approval with the government's Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for several months to resume individual practices and team scrimmages.

The greatest burden with sports bubbles probably lie on the shoulders of players, coaches and team staff who would have to spend months away from their families to continue their professional sports journeys. Moreover, many of our professional players feed off the fans ‘energies and passion which makes sporting events fun to watch and experience. In the absence of family and fans for the next 2 months, the mental and social toughness of PBA players and coaches will be put to a severe test. Losses become harder in the absence of support systems and the typical environment where players can take a respite.

The PBA Bubble is an attempt by the league to provide sports-entertainment to the basketball-adoring public. It is also sports' contribution to restoring faith and confidence among our people that we're on our way to the new normal. The sacrifices of players, coaches and league personnel can also serve as an inspiration to many of our Kababayans when it comes to following health protocols and standards. 

As an avid sports fan, the PBA has done a great service to our nation. With the absence of gate receipt sales which comprise most of the league's revenues, the PBA continues to find noble ways to bring the action close to our homes by allowing virtual fans in their games at their own cost. PBA owners should also be lauded for supporting the staging of the bubble, even as they too have been financially affected by the pandemic.

As a diverse league with players coming from different parts of country, with owners of varying personalities and fans coming from all strata, the PBA continues to aid a nation longing for hope and inspiration. For this very reason, we should all continue to support the league for its 45th season and beyond.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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