Light at end of tunnel
Norman Black
Light at end of tunnel
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PBA coaches are gearing up for the new normal when it comes to preparing their respective teams leading to the eventual resumption of play.

Forced to do individual workouts at home since March, the clubs are set to begin organized practice sessions in two or three weeks but under a vastly different setup.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to work. We are just waiting for the guidelines from the commissioner as to how we can handle practice. At least there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel,” Meralco’s Norman Black told The STAR.

“It’s a good step towards our goal of resuming the games. Once we start, though, we need to observe protocols and be extra careful in doing things under the new setup,” said Blackwater’s Nash Racela.

Phoenix mentor Louie Alas said he’s both “very excited” and “quite worried” of the new normal training but is confident that the PBA will ensure the health and safety of everyone.

“I’m pretty sure the PBA is very cautious. In fact, I heard they’re very strict with all the rules or protocols,” he said.

The PBA has come up with a restart plan that features a bubble, closed-circuit approach.

The pro league’s health protocols and safety guidelines for the non-scrimmage, per-batch workout sessions, including testing every 10 days, were approved by the IATF last Friday.

The PBA has batted for six people per session – four players plus a trainer and a health officer – but Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra said the IATF allowed only five per batch under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

The number, he explained, will bump up to 10 under the more relaxed Modified GCQ.

Coaches and team managers will meet with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial next week to further discuss how they are to proceed.

Marcial said they hope to start the sessions by July 22.

Players’ representatives, in an earlier meeting, had previously gone over the PBA’s plan and unanimously pledged their support to the resumption of training and competition.

“It’s bubble time, fellas,” San Miguel’s Chris Ross posted on Twitter.

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