More than enough stories have been reported regarding how much the COVID-19 pandemic became one of the greatest challenges of the entire sporting world. Spectators in venues were limited then banned outright. Games were delayed then cancelled. League seasons were drastically shortened, and annual sporting meets like the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were pushed back a year. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) shared in these travails, being forced to truncate their season to just one conference in the Philippine Cup last year. As the general situation seems to be repeating this 2021, the national pro basketball league has announced a salary cut, a move supported by the teams and players.
The Philippine Star reports that the PBA has gone for a 20-percent pay cut on its players as the COVID pandemic continues to menace the pro basketball league over a year later. This was the culmination of a proposal to reduce salaries back in 2020, the pandemic’s first year, when the season was reduced to a very short Philippine Cup. Ultimately the PBA decided not to slash pay then, only to go ahead now, considering that the 2021 season is again uncertain due to the ongoing NCR Plus community quarantine.
Once the salary reduction that would begin in May was announced, it was met with understanding and support from the PBA’s teams – players and coaches. Speaking on behalf of the league participants, the respective head coaches of Talk n Text and Barangay Ginebra, Chot Reyes and Tim Cone, voiced their assent to having pay slashed. “Simply, like the rest of our countrymen, we do what we have to do to survive,” notes Cone for instance. “Everyone is faced with difficult decisions, the same with the PBA,” The cut applies to all team coaches, assistant coaches, players, managers and team personnel.
The PBA has been mired in increasing expenditures throughout the pandemic with no games held in order to recoup costs. Reducing salaries was a temporary step towards keeping bills paid, and they will return to normal rates as soon as the government approves 5-on-5 scrimmages for teams to get some practice in before they start this year’s season, which again might comprise just the all-Filipino player Philippine Cup. About the only PBA people not affected by the pay cuts are the utility workers, something San Miguel Beerman Chris Ross lauded the league for in Twitter.
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