COVID-19- related issues led to Monday's South Division Finals Game 1 tipping off close to 11pm

Bob Guerrero on Mar 10, 2020 09:39 AM
MPBL Division Finals games start late due to COVID-19
The South Finals game between Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife and Basilan Steel - Jumbo Plastic was supposed to begin at 8:30 PM but instead got started close to 11 PM.

Maybe we can call it MPBL Playoffs: Walang Tulugan Edition.

On Monday night the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season playoffs were affected by the COVID-19 virus threat in a big way, with both North and South Division Finals Game Ones pushing through, but delayed significantly.

The North Division game between San Juan Knights - Go For Gold and Makati Super Crunch was originally slated to begin at 6:30 PM in the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

But earlier, San Juan city officials decreed that sporting events would be held behind closed doors due to the virus. Because of this, the UAAP Juniors Basketball Finals game between NU-Nazareth and FEU Diliman was played on Monday afternoon in the Filoil Flying V Centre behind closed doors, without spectators.

However, the MPBL game was allowed to push through with spectators, but only after a delay of almost two hours, reportedly due to discussions between the parties involved.

San Juan won Game 1 handily, 76-60, in front of a substantial gallery of San Juan's faithful fans.

There were temperature scans for all who watched the game, and everyone was given a dose of disinfectant on their hands.

The South Finals game between Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife and Basilan Steel - Jumbo Plastic was supposed to begin at 8:30 PM but instead got started close to 11 PM, since the telecast had to wait for the first game of the day to conclude.

The South Division clash had already been affected by COVID-19. The venue was moved to Tagum as the province of Davao Occidental could not host the game due to the fears of the virus spreading. That meant the Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife home court in Rizal Memorial College would be unavailable.

Fortunately at the last minute Davao Del Norte stepped in to offer the Davnor Gym in the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum as a replacement venue.

Jumbo Plastic took first blood in the series, downing Cocolife 74-72 in front of an arena that was filled to the brim despite the extremely late start. Both series are slated to have their Game Twos on Wednesday.

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