The PBA is gearing up for Season 48 with a host of rule changes that promise to bring an exciting twist to the league’s dynamics. Perhaps the most significant change is the removal of player-initiated timeouts, among other alterations set to be enforced starting the Commissioner’s Cup.
Commissioner Willie Marcial disclosed that a dedicated competition committee was convened to deliberate these changes for the upcoming season, with the elimination of player timeouts standing out as one of the most notable adjustments.
“Napag-kasunduan na wala ng timeouts ang mga player (Starting this season, players will no longer have the privilege of calling timeouts),” Marcial stated during the Season 48 press conference.
The intention behind this decision is to familiarize PBA players with FIBA rules. This move is particularly relevant, given that the PBA serves as a primary source of talent for the Gilas Pilipinas men’s training pool, which competes in international tournaments.
Under the new rules, only coaches will retain the authority to call timeouts during games.
In addition to this significant change, the PBA is introducing the “Coaches’ Challenge” to enhance the game’s fairness and accuracy. Coaches will have the opportunity to challenge a referee’s call, but only once per game. A successful challenge will earn them another opportunity to dispute a call. Importantly, an unsuccessful challenge will not result in a penalty that reduces the team’s available timeouts.
Marcial clarified, “One challenge ka lang. Kapag naging successful ka, another challenge. Kung hindi ka naging successful, hindi ka rin naman tatanggalan ng timeout. So puwede kang mag-challenge, isa lang. Kapag successful ka, magiging dalawa. Pero walang tatanggalin na timeout (You have one challenge. If you succeed, you get another one. If you’re not successful, you won’t lose a timeout either).”
The Coaches’ Challenge concept was initially tested during the pre-season On Tour. In this trial phase, each team had two opportunities to dispute calls, one in the first half and another in the second half. In the event of an unsuccessful challenge during this phase, the team would lose a timeout.
Following thorough review and adjustments, the competition committee fine-tuned the rule to its current version, which will be implemented in the upcoming season.
Coaches from all 12 PBA teams received comprehensive briefings on the new league rules for Season 48 on October 3 at the PBA Office. The briefing was conducted under the leadership of deputy commissioner Eric Castro.
As the PBA gears up for an exciting new season, these rule changes promise to bring a fresh perspective to the league, ensuring fair and competitive basketball for fans and players alike.