By JONAS TERRADO
The PBA said it was invited to hold several games this month in the United Arab Emirates as part of the Dubai Expo 2020.
A story on the league’s website disclosed that the PBA had to decline the offer of Expo organizers, especially after games of the Governors’ Cup were suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 surge.
Had the invitation was accepted, the PBA would have played in Dubai on Jan. 27 to 30 at the Expo Sports Arena.
“Commissioner Willie Marcial already sent his sincere apology for not being able to accommodate the Dubai invitation at this time of the pandemic,” the article stated.
“But (the PBA) is truly looking forward at working with the organizers in future endeavors, especially in bringing the PBA brand of basketball in the Middle East, where a lot of Overseas Filipino Workers are currently based.”
The PBA last played in the UAE city in 2019 with NLEX, San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra delighting their compatriots at the Coca-Cola Arena.
NLEX lost to SMB in the first game but bounced back with a thrilling come-from-behind win over Ginebra.
Dubai actually offered the host a bubble setup in 2020 when the league was still in the process of trying to resume the 45th season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Dubai plan never reached the serious stage due to time constraints.