Basketball / B. League

B. League suspends season again; no games until at least April 1

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

After a chaotic weekend, the B. League decided to once again suspend its regular season as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

But this time, there will basically be no more makeup games.

The men’s professional circuit revealed on Tuesday that it will cancel all first- and second-division games until at least April 1, starting with Friday’s B2 games. The number of called-off games is 95.

The league came to the conclusion on Tuesday after it held a teleconference with club representatives. The league also held meetings with the Japan Basketball Players Association on Monday and Tuesday.

It was announced last week that the league would resume its season by staging games with no spectators until the above-mentioned date. But that policy has already been revamped due to the increasing fear of the coronavirus.

Last weekend, a pair of games were called off due to the virus scare. Saturday’s Kawasaki Brave Thunders-Levanga Hokkaido contest at Todoroki Arena was canceled because three Levanga players had a fever. And Sunday’s game between the Chiba Jets Funabashi and Utsunomiya Brex at Funabashi Arena was canceled after one of the referees recorded a temperature of 37.5 C or more, which is listed one of the symptoms of the virus.

The three Levanga players’ temperature was not above 37.5 C and their fevers have subsided, according to the team.

The ref’s body temperature is also back to normal, according to B. League chairman Masaaki Okawa.

“We’d created a good enough principle (as we resumed the season),” Okawa said at a news conference at the league office in Tokyo. “But, although those were games that were held without the fans, once we returned to the arenas, various unexpected things happened.”

Okawa said that the league will try to make up those two games later in the season.

Late last month, the league postponed a total of 99 games in B1 and B2 until last Wednesday. Those contests were to be rescheduled between April and early May. The top-flight postseason is scheduled to tip off on May 6. The title game is slated for May 11 at Yokohama Arena.

The B. League will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation throughout Japan, the chairman said, while also observing when Nippon Professional Baseball and the J. League start competing, and then make “a comprehensive decision” regarding the relaunch of its own season after April 1.

The final playoff seedings will be decided by teams’ winning percentages.

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