PBA Commissioner: 2021 Governors’ Cup Could Be Canceled Outright

Aside from a few developments in the Opol casino drama, there’s nothing much to report on regarding legal gambling in the Philippines.

On the sports betting side of things, there’s also not much happening, as the PBA Governors’ Cup is still suspended due to lockdowns resultant from the current COVID Omicron outbreak.

Fortunately, there’s plenty to report on that front.

For starters, whether or not the 2021 Governors’ Cup will even make a comeback to conclude the campaign remains to be seen. Recent news indicates that the Philippine Basketball Association is considering all options, including outright cancellation.

While this is the most extreme possible outcome (and, frankly, the least desirous outcome for all parties involved), it may be necessary if the PBA is going to get back on track – or anywhere near back on track – for its 2022 schedule.

As it stands right now, as long as the 2021 Governors’ Cup remains in limbo, so too does the 2022 PBA season.

This week, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial stated the following to a panel of reporters from the Philippine Sportswriters Association:

“We will know if we’re going to continue or not and what our plans will be [in the near future]. …

I feel for the team owners because I know they continue to pay for the salary of their players, particularly the imports, who are being paid [big] dollars. But I think they understand our situation.”

Per Marcial, coronavirus trends in the month of February – one way or another – will determine the PBA’s steps going forward:

“Based from what I hear and read, they say that the [number of cases] will plateau and will drop anytime. But others say that it will rise further in February. What we can do is just pray and take care of ourselves.”

For what it’s worth, the Philippine Games and Amusements Board (GAB) has officially gone on record to recommend that the 2021 Governors’ Cup be resumed.

While the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) must approve this recommendation, it shows that the wheels are indeed turning.

In fact, at least one major decision could be made as early as next week.

As Marcial explained, one of the biggest costs of the current PBA suspension comes via import players’ salaries. Apparently, there’s some discussion about sending those players home to allow for an all-Filipino finish to the season.

This would effectively make the 2021 Governors’ Cup a repeat of the 2021 Philippine Cup, as only native-born players would be allowed to participate for the remaining (majority) of the conference.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these import players would have their salaries cut or prorated, as such a move would be catastrophic when courting international talent for future conference play.

However, there is another element to the cost proposition when it comes to imports, as Philippine newsmagazine INQUIRER.net points out:

“[Commissioner] Marcial is very much aware of the additional costs the teams have been incurring with imports in their respective care, and making them go home because of a continued postponement remains a viable option for the league to keep thinking of saving the rest of the conference.”

In other words, sending the imports home would relieve each PBA club of the room and board costs related to said imports’ continued indefinite stays in the country.

Other options include finishing the 2021 Governors’ Cup in a bubble format, trimming the salaries of local players, and other measures.

Only time will tell, of course, but we certainly hope that the PBA Governors’ Cup gets to close out its conference as originally planned.

In the meantime, though, we’ll content ourselves with betting on the NBA and betting on the 2022 Winter Olympics at the best offshore Philippine gambling sites.