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GAB okay with PBA guidelines

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) finds the PBA’s return-to-training plans including its health guidelines “doable,” and the government agency sees no major issues in signing off on the 5-on-5 scrimmages.

“Regarding the approved conduct of PBA scrimmages in GCQ and MGCQ areas, the GAB believes that the submitted protocols using a closed-circuit method is doable,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra told The STAR.

The GAB chief, whose agency is tasked to vet on the conduct of the training sessions, stressed the importance of strictly following the health and safety protocols that will govern the practices.

“There must be a strict compliance with the protocols where players and officials shall be restricted to stay in their homes and go straight to the venue and back. Stiff penalties shall be imposed to violators,” he said.

“Health and safety protocols should likewise be adhered to in their homes,” Mitra added.

The pro league is requiring teams to undergo RT-PCR testing seven days before and a second test two days prior to commencing the practices with regular tests set thereafter in 10-day intervals.

Squads will keep a log of their movements and anyone caught breaching protocols will face a possible fine of P100,000 and suspension of 10 days.

The PBA is hoping to secure government clearances as soon as possible and get the scrimmages going by next week.

“Tough protocols, but it’s tough times so we have to do what we have to do so that we can start up again,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

“It’s going to take some discipline from all those involved, especially the young players, but we’ve proven in the (previous) bubble that we’re up for it,” he added.

The ballclubs are looking at Batangas City and Laoag in Ilocos Norte as training hubs while Metro Manila and other nearby provinces like Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite remain under restrictive MECQ. They may return to their old gyms in the capital if and when it shifts to GCQ status after May 14.

“Right now, we cannot be choosy with practice venues,” said Alaska mentor Jeff Cariaso. “Best case scenario is NCR Plus will move to GCQ and we can resume practice at Gatorade Hoops. If Batangas City is our home for a couple of weeks, I honestly don’t mind as long as we can be back on the court.”

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