More PH cage leagues suspend games due to Covid-19

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

March 12, 2020, 9:12 pm

<p>Photo courtesy of Anadulo Agency</p>

Photo courtesy of Anadulo Agency

MANILA – Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) fans may need to wait for a while before finding out which teams will make the national finals.

An official statement from Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes on Thursday night said the rubber matches in the MPBL Division Finals are now "suspended indefinitely."

"Though we want to hold the deciding Game 3's on Saturday we cannot take for granted the danger Covid-19 poses to the spectators, players, team members, and MPBL staff," Duremdes added.

Following wins by Davao Occidental and Makati on the road on Wednesday night, the two national semifinal series are heading to sudden death.

The Tigers were supposed to host the Basilan Steel in the decider of the South Division Finals in Metro Davao, while the Skyscrapers, who dealt the San Juan Knights their first home loss all season long, are to play them one more time at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Another regional league, the National Basketball League, also announced the postponement of their own playoff matches scheduled this weekend.

“The decision was made after careful deliberation with the local government unit and as a response to medical bulletins released by the Office of the President and the Department of Health. This reiterates NBL Philippines’ policy of prioritizing the well-being of its participating players, teams, personnel, officials, and most of all, its devoted fan base,” the NBL said in its own statement.

Unlike the MPBL, however, the NBL, barring a late announcement, will resume play next weekend.

Marikina and Parañaque will face off in the first game, while Muntinlupa will host Pasig in a doubleheader now to be played on March 21 at the Hoopla Gymnasium.

The following day, La Union takes on Cavite and Nueva Ecija hosts CamSur at the San Leonardo Gymnasium.

The Philippine Basketball Association, the country’s top basketball league, announced the postponement of its games on Wednesday.

ABL asked to postpone ongoing season

Meanwhile, four Asean Basketball League teams including Alab Pilipinas have asked the league to postpone the ongoing season.

The Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions, the Formosa Dreamers, and the Macau Black Bears also pleaded for the ABL to suspend action due to the rising cases of coronavirus.

"Based on current uncertain factors such as difficulties in searching for the available game venue, I believe it is also tough for the league to schedule the remaining events," said Hong Kong Eastern vice chairman Frankie Yau, who represented the four teams in a joint statement on Thursday night.

Many matches scheduled for February and March were called off due to the Covid-19 scare, most of which included either the Long Lions, the Dreamers, the Black Bears, or Alab.

NBA, FIBA suspends games

On Thursday, the National Basketball Association to suspend its ongoing regular season due to two players from the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert and Emmanuel Mudiay, getting affected by Covid 19.

On the other hand, FIBA announced that all of its scheduled events from Friday onward are also postponed indefinitely.

"FIBA will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will evaluate the options for the continuation or not of the respective competitions when and if the situation allows for it," the statement read.

The EuroLeague competitions of the European basketball have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday.

In a statement, EuroLeague said it has been monitoring latest developments about COVID-19, like the increased risks for participants in games, travel restrictions across Europe and advices by health authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

"As a consequence of the above it has become impossible to maintain the regularity of the competitions, and in order to preserve the health and safety of the participants and fans, EuroLeague Basketball in agreement with its clubs has taken the decision to temporarily suspend all 2019-20 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, 7DAYS EuroCup and EuroLeague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament games until further notice," EuroLeague said.

"EuroLeague Basketball will closely monitor any further developments to verify whether they allow the suspension to be reverted," it added.

As the world struggles to contain the rapidly spreading virus, organizers of sports events across the globe have been forced to cancel or alter their plans.

Many international sports events were canceled or rescheduled and some were or will be played without the audience, with even the future of this summer's Tokyo Olympics in doubt.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared coronavirus a “controllable” global pandemic.

The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 4,600, with over 124,500 confirmed cases, according to the WHO.

Rugby events postponed too

Even events from other sports had to be called off due to Covid 19.

In a statement also on Thursday, the Philippine Rugby Football Union postponed the JML Luzon Cup, the PRFU Premiership Shield, and the Santos Knight Frank Junior Festival with April 18 as the target resumption of the matches.

"Philippine Rugby will continue to assess the effects and spread of the COVID-19 on a regular basis. Consistent assessment will determine if it is indeed safe to continue to host domestic Rugby competitions after April 18 in a safe and responsible manner," the PRFU said. (PNA)