PBA return around the bend
Willie Marcial

PBA return around the bend

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 8, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With teams cleared to start scrimmages in lower risk areas, the PBA is now looking at its Season 46 plans with renewed confidence.

The pro league received a major boost yesterday on its targeted June kickoff as the Inter-Agency Task Force approved its request for full-contact practices in areas under general community quarantine (GGQ) and moderate GCQ.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said he hopes to get things going by May 18 at the earliest. He stressed the importance of the scrimmages in the eventual lobbying for the actual games.

“It’s important for the scrimmages to go hitch-free, that no one will test positive, so that we can show the task force and the GAB (Games and Amusements Board) that we’re complying with protocols and we can pull this off,” he said.

“Perhaps if we can prove that we can hold our scrimmages successfully and safely, we can appeal for the official games later on,” he added.

He reiterated that the protocols for the closed-circuit sessions will be strengthened further.

“We’ll now require teams to get a swab test seven days before the start then get a second test two days prior to the actual practices. Moreover, they will now be tested every 10 days instead of the previous requirement of 14 days,” he said.

The plan, according to Marcial, is to give the teams a full month of training before commencing hostilities. The games, though, are dependent on the prevailing health conditions.

The pro league is arranging for the teams’ possible training in three Batangas City facilities – Batangas Coliseum, Batangas State U Gym and Lyceum-Batangas Gym.

“We inspected the facilities and they passed the PBA standard,” said Marcial, who met with Batangas City officials led by Mayor Beverley Dimacuha and Rep. Marvey Mariño to discuss the finer details of the PBA sorties.

With the IATF decision, there’s also a possibility of doing the practices in Metro Manila and Antipolo should their quarantine levels shift to GCQ from MECQ after May 14. Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig and Ynares Center in Antipolo were identified as potential sites, if ever.

Marcial will meet with GAB for further discussion on protocols and how to go about the scrimmages.

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