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PBA ponders leaving lockdown life

/ 05:15 AM June 26, 2020

The Inquirer’s Cedelf P. Tupas reported on Tuesday that PBA commissioner Willie Marcial scored a coup by convincing players to suit up when it is time to restart the league’s stalled 45th season.

Their fears dispelled by stringent health and safety measures the league said it will faithfully execute once they see action again, all 12 teams told Marcial they will get onboard when the government green-lights the PBA to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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But hopes for the resumption sooner of the second oldest professional basketball tournament on Earth were doused when the Department of Health tallied the highest single-day increase of 1,150 new coronavirus cases.

The fresh figures pushed the national caseload from the pandemic to close to 12,000 and prompted the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to retain restrictions even in places considered low-risk for infections.

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Although the virus is trending in the wrong direction, the PBA is preparing for a return to a new normal, when the league leaves a life in lockdown—the timing to be carefully deliberated by the PBA board of governors sometime in August.

Marcial said it is now up to the IATF to decide on the league’s reopening, starting with the individual conditioning of players. The protocols for conditioning have been sent to the IATF. Marcial said 10 days after the task force approves, the individual workouts will start with four players and two staff (a safety officer and a coach or trainer) allowed each session.

The rules, according to the commissioner, will highlight social distancing, disinfection and hospital standard sanitation after each individual workout session.

The regimen will also include: initial testing of players prior to conditioning routines and mandatory testing three times and 10 days apart for the duration of their training stints; a strict “bubble” schedule for the players from house to car to training venue and back to their residences, with any diversion reported to the safety officer.

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Commissioner Roger Goodell of the profitable National Football League (NFL) shuttered by the coronavirus, called US President Donald Trump “divisive” recently.

Goodell was outraged after Trump verbally attacked him at a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, for siding with NFL players who kneel during the pregame playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality toward Blacks.

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At the same rally that ignored concerns that gathering thousands of people could be a superspreader of the coronavirus, which has killed 121,000-plus Americans, Trump failed to identify with those who lost family and friends to the pandemic.

Tagged the “Divider in Chief,” Trump bellyached instead that extensive testing was making the pandemic look worse.Then, in a racially insensitive comment, he called the disease, which originated in China the “Kung Flu,” a slur he has since repeated twice.

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TAGS: Basketball, Commissioner Roger Goodell, National Football League, PBA, Willie Marcial
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