PBA optimistic on resumption even as social media video shows apparent violation of health guidelines
MANILA, Philippines–The PBA remains optimistic that it can still salvage its suspended 45th season even with Metro Manila placed under general community quarantine once again for the next two weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
League commissioner Willie Marcial said the PBA is still on track for a return in October especially if the situation improves this month.
“We’re still okay,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Wednesday. “Our target to make a decision is really in August so we still have some leeway right now. We remain patient and optimistic.
”Some players, though, have run out of patience with Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar seen in a video posted on social media playing five-on-five ball with former Ateneo stars Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena in an apparent pickup game at Ronac Gym.
Seen on Instagram
The video, posted late Wednesday on Instagram, looks to be a very recent one as Ravena, who signed a contract to play as an import in the Japan BLeague just over a week ago, is seen with his hair dyed red—a fashion change he flaunted during his press conference with his new Japanese club.
The Inquirer got hold of the video and tried contacting Marcial for comment later on Wednesday but he could no longer be reached. The commissioner also did not reply to text queries at press time.
Marcial had given all members of the PBA community strict orders to engage in all the protocols ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)—not playing in a full court scrimmage being one of them—and the video clearly shows violations of those protocols.
The league has already submitted its stringent health protocols on a possible return to training for all 12 ball clubs in anticipation for the return of actual games later on.
TNT governor Ricky Vargas is also bullish that the pro league can get back on its feet and restart the season.
And while the task may be difficult especially with COVID-19 cases increasing at a higher rate than in previous months, Vargas said this should not discourage the league from pursuing their plans.
“We would like to really think positively about being able to go back,” Vargas said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association webcast on Tuesday. “We will improve soon.”The IATF will have the final say on the fate of the league’s protocols.
One thing going for the PBA and other pro sports attempting a comeback is the fact that the Games and Amusement Board has also sought an audience with the IATF and submitted various health procedures that may be applied to help restart competitions.