‘Make-or-break’ phase for PBA

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Now more than ever, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday the players, coaches and staff of every team’s 25-man lineup must exercise extreme caution to make sure practices in areas under at least GCQ are smooth sailing in convincing IATF that the league is ready to open the 46th season next month. Marcial called the period from May 15 to 31, where NCR Plus has been placed under heightened GCQ, a “make or break” for the PBA.

“Dapat super ingat tayong lahat at sundin ang ating mahigpit na protocols,” said Marcial. “Magalit kung magalit pero kailangan natin walang positive at total cooperation.” IATF approved the PBA’s proposal of a closed-circuit system to apply from home to practice to home with swab testing seven days then two days before the start of practice with a subsequent 10-day testing cycle in at least GCQ areas. Each team is required to submit a 25-man roster, including players, coaches and staff, for movement monitoring. “Walang labasan ng bahay,” stressed Marcial. “Kung may lalabas for emergency or essentials, dapat ipaalam sa PBA tapos pagbalik sa bahay, seven-day quarantine at panibagong testing. Lahat may google form for tracking movement. Kung may lumabas na walang paalam at mahuli, may P75,000 fine at 10-day suspension without pay.” Marcial explained the strict measures are necessary to report a clean slate to IATF in applying for approval to start the season as the next step.

With NCR Plus now under GCQ, Marcial said teams are going through the process of seeking LGU approval to practice in Metro Manila. PBA endorsement letters have been submitted to the mayors of Quezon City, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Cainta and Parañaque as requested by PBA teams. Blackwater and Rain or Shine, for instance, are requesting approval from Quezon City but may practice in Batangas City in the meantime like Phoenix and Magnolia. TNT is set to train in Laoag up to May 30. Terrafirma will restart practice at Azure in Parañaque while NorthPort will train at the King’s Landing Gym in Filinvest Cainta.

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra approved the PBA’s conduct of scrimmages in GCQ and MGCQ areas last Wednesday, subject to clearance from LGUs, inspection of practice venues by GAB and submission of summary of test results, list of participants in each practice and pictures and videos of each session. Last Friday, Mitra sent a letter to IATF chair Secretary Francisco Duque through co-chair Secretary Karlo Nograles inquiring if the heightened GCQ condition in NCR Plus will affect the conduct of PBA practices in Metro Manila.

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