PBA reaches out to players
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2020 - 12:00am

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is eager to find out what’s the vibe among players during the pandemic and on June 23, he’s gathering two representatives from each team to get a pulse of the situation. That will mean assembling 24 players at one time to listen to their views on what’s happening.

It’s possible that by then, the IATF will have responded to the PBA’s request to allow limited practice under GCQ in Metro Manila. Last Wednesday, the PBA Board of Governors met with Marcial, deputy commissioner Eric Castro, legal counsel Atty. Melvin Mendoza and finance head Odessa Encarnacion in the league office at Libis to discuss the details of the request, among others, in a two-hour session.

Attending the meeting were chairman Ricky Vargas of TNT, vice chairman Bobby Rosales of Columbian, Al Panlilio of Meralco, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, Erick Arejola of NorthPort, Rod Franco of NLEX, Dicky Bachmann of Alaska and Atty. Mamerto Mondragon of Rain or Shine. The governors who participated via zoom were Atty. Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix, Rene Pardo of Magnolia and Silliman Sy of Blackwater.

Marcial said the request to the IATF is in anticipation of the modified GCQ which will allow the resumption of sporting events with a restricted audience. Basketball, however, is not in the list of sports permitted under a modified GCQ so it’s presumed that issue will be addressed separately. If the IATF approves the request, teams may restart practice as early as June 15. If the approval comes after June 15, it will take about three days to disseminate the information and get teams ready to resume training.

Marcial said only four players will be permitted in each practice session of 45 to 60 minutes. Every session will be attended by four players, a health or safety officer and a trainer or coach. Batches of six will take turns training in the same facility. A safety officer or trainer or coach will be limited to participate in only one batch during a training day so there will be no double duty.

“The PBA will set strict health standards and protocols but if teams want to add to the measures, it’s up to them,” said Marcial. “Basta sa PBA, hospital standards ang sanitation sa practice facility. Players will be tested thrice a month with an interval of 10 days – first, rapid tapos, swab then rapid uli. Each person’s temperature will be checked upon arriving at the practice venue. Kung 37.5 or up, they’ll be given 30 minutes to stabilize. If after 30 minutes, it’s still high, we’ll follow DOH protocols and send to the hospital. Bawal mag-shower sa practice facility at bawal mag-scrimmage. Training is strictly for conditioning or treatment so no 2-on-2 or 1-on-1 games.”

Marcial said the PBA will follow whatever the IATF rules. Once the IATF replies to the request, an emergency PBA Board meeting will be convened to discuss the ruling and steps to implement accordingly. Marcial said aside from the players, he’ll also meet with the different team managers, either via zoom or face-to-face, and explain the protocols of practicing in a “bubble.”

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