The chorus of a 1997 song from an English alternative rock band goes, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” Such a line can be taken up as a forceful mantra to fire oneself up during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it is one way to describe the Philippine Basketball Association this season. With high hopes the league began its 2021 season in July 16, hoping to squeeze at least two of its usual three conferences in that time. August 3 saw the Philippine Cup suspended when Metro Manila underwent ECQ, but with a new low-quarantine venue set, the games can resume next month.

CNN Philippines reports that the PBA has announced on Tuesday, August 31, the next set of games for this season’s Philippine Cup. It will be tomorrow, the first day of September, at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gymnasium of Bacolor, Pampanga. This comes after nearly a full month that the country’s pro basketball league has again been compelled to halt its game schedule because of pandemic quarantine restrictions. Pampanga is not part of the NCR Plus area of concern, but is reasonably close to Metro Manila for PBA’s consideration.

Much like the season opening back in July 16, expect three games back to back when Philippine Cup play resumes on Wednesday. First on the program is a matchup between lossless TNT Tropang Giga and zero-win (this season) Blackwater Bossing at half-past noon. The 3PM slot will be filled by the San Miguel Beermen and Terrafirma, while the last game at 6PM will be played between the Meralco Bolts and the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots. The first five game days of the resumed season will see alternating three-game and two-game schedules, as the league tries to play all matches it can for the playoff bracket.

In hopes of making sure this conference is not met with another stoppage, the PBA is planning heightened health and safety protocol standards for players, officials and staff, for strict compliance and with stiffer penalties. COVID tests will be regularly implemented, with RT-PCR being given every Monday to all league members, and antigen tests every game day morning for all players, officials and staff involved. The 12 teams in conference are quartered in different venues across Clark Freeport Zone and nearby Angeles City, heading to the Ventura University gym when they are up to play.

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