‘Upbeat’ PBA submits guidelines to IATF, eyes resumption of practices
MANILA, Philippines — The optimism was palpable as the PBA moved a step closer into the possible resumption of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During the meeting, the board approved health and safety guidelines to be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The league hopes to seek the go-signal from the IATF to finally allow teams to practice later this month with the safety of the players’ of utmost importance.
“Everyone is upbeat,” said PBA chair Ricky Vargas.
“How confident I am? The situation is uncertain. It’s something we’re not in control of. But as we follow the improvement of the situation from ECQ to MECQ to GCQ and with the businesses starting to reopen, you see more, and it gives you hope.”
The PBA has been suspended since March 11 just three days since raising the curtains on its 45th season. Last Monday, Metro Manila shifted into a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) which allows several non-contact indoor and outdoor sports such as biking, swimming, golf, skateboarding, equestrian and badminton.
“We’re reaching out to them (IATF), and we’re also having a dialogue with representatives from the teams – most probably two players each,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.
“No scrimmages. It’s a process so we’re taking it slow. The proposal is just return to practice [and] conditioning,” said vice chair Bobby Rosales.
Among the guidelines to be strictly followed is “no-test, no-practice” as well as the standard health protocols such as checking of temperature and social distancing.
Marcial also said only four players, who should already be in their practice attire before going inside the facility, will be allowed per practice session which will also have the presence of a safety officer and a trainer.
Players are also encouraged to leave the facility within five minutes after training to give way to the next batch of six individuals.
Practice facilities will also undergo a hospital standard type of sanitation and proper disposal of uniforms will be observed.
“Testing is a must. We have to be concerned that the players are free from the disease,” said Vargas.
As for the fate of the season, another meeting will be held in August which will determine whether or not the PBA will resume with a one-conference format to begin likely in October.
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