By JONAS TERRADO
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said the Executive of the Year award bestowed to him in the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night is a testament to the efforts of everyone who made last season’s bubble a success.
Marcial was given the honor for his integral role in the staging of the two-month PBA Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga which saw all 12 teams play in a compact tournament that lasted two months.
The 10th commissioner in the league history said the bubble was both a challenge, given the obstacles hurdled, and a blessing as those who took part in the endeavor formed a lasting bond.
“May mga challenges po at marami din po kaming blessings na dumating sa bubble,” Marcial said in a recorded speech during the event that aired Sunday, March 28, on One Sports+.
“Di ko aakalain na magkakasama-sama po ang 12 teams na nagbabanggaan po sa court, tas pagdating po sa hotel magkakasama sa hallway at sa lobby,” he said. “Naging isang pamilya po na nagaalala sa bawat isa,” added Marcial. “Naging mas malakas at tumibay ang loob po namin, lalo na po ako.”
The PBA was able to salvage the 45th season when the league agreed to resume the Philippine Cup under a bubble setup in Pampanga.
Marcial said it was important that the PBA was able to lead the way in helping Philippine sports to slowly resume activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang PBA po ay isang institusyon na parte po ng buhay ng mga Pilipino (The PBA is an institution that is part of the lives of Filipinos),” he said. “Yan po ang nagtulak sa mga team owners, sa mga governors na simulan namin ang bubble.” “Sa tingin po namin ay makakatulong sa ekonomiya at makakatulong din magbukas ng ibang sports, di lamang po basketball. Higit po sa lahat, makakapagbigay saya at pagasa sa ating mga kababayan,” added Marcial.