MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) begins its 48th season on Oct. 15 as announced by Commissioner Willie Marcial.

Marcial said the season will likely run until April 2024 depending on how long the two conferences, the import-spiced Commissioner’s Cup and all-Filipino Philippine Cup, will last.

“Ang finals ng coming Commissioner’s Cup, siguro matatapos siya ng February. Tapos mga 7-10 days, magsisimula naman yung All-Filipino Cup (The Commissioner’s Cup Finals might finish by February. Then after 7-10 days, the All-Filipino Cup will start),” Marcial made his projection during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the PSC Conference Room inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

He confirmed that the All-Star Week is set for coming March in Bacolod.

“Inanyahan tayo at nakausap natin si Mayor Albee [Benitez] na sila ang magho-host sa (Mayor Albee invited and even got to talk to us saying that they will host the All-Star Week in) Bacolod by March,” Marcial said.

The league executive also announced that the PBA Draft Combine is scheduled on Sept. 12-13 –only a few days after the FIBA World Cup–at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

The combine is required for aspirants to signify their intent of joining the Sept. 17 draft, which will happen at the Market Market Activity Area in Taguig.

Just like last year, the PBA Draft will just be a regular draft, that is, there will be no special Gilas round.

Also in the pipeline for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup is the possibility of holding a three-game home stand for guest team Bay Area in Hong Kong.

“Pinag-usapan namin yan ni Matt Beyer (EASL CEO) para maglaro sa (We discussed with Matt Beyer about playing in) Hong Kong,” Marcial continued. “Hindi pa talagang finalized yung pag-uusap namin, pero 80 percent, maglalaro sa (Our discussion has not been finalized yet, but 80 percent sure, we will play in) Hong Kong.”

He added that the Dragons’ home games against opponents that the PBA will announce at the release of the Commissioner’s Cup schedule might be played on Saturday, the day set for the out-of-town games.

To further hype the new season, the PBA will also hold a fun run on Sept. 24 at the new Bridgetowne Complex, whose entire area is shared by both the cities of Pasig and Quezon.

There will be out-of-town games in Tiaong, Quezon, Baliwag, Bulacan, Batangas City, and Dumaguete City, and although 15 provinces have offered to host PBA games this season, Marcial said those which already hosted the league during the On Tour would be considered first.

Marcial said the PBA is fully supporting the Gilas Pilipinas’ stint in the World Cup and Asiad in Hangzhou, China from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.

“We continue to support Gilas for the Asian Games. We still don’t know which players the team will use, if it’s still Gilas today (for the World Cup) or if the players will change. It still depends on the discussion with coach Chot (Reyes),” Marcial said. (PNA)