Return to practice ‘good step’ toward PBA resumption, say coaches
MANILA, Philippines—PBA teams have been given the green light to resume its practices following the league’s suspension of activity due to COVID-19, but the go-signal doesn’t come without making the necessary adjustments and precaution.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Friday allowed basketball and football teams to hold practices as long as they follow a strict protocol and maintain social distancing.
San Miguel head coach Leo Austria and his Blackwater counterpart Nash Racela said the IATF’s decision was indeed a positive progress toward league resumption, but they know that they still have to be extra careful when they get back to their practice facilities.
“This is a welcome development for all those teams who really want to start because we all know many are waiting to just get back to playing,” said Austria in Filipino. “The coaches feel the need to resume and this is also one way of showing the public that things will eventually get better.”
“It’s a good step toward our goal of resuming the games,” said Racela.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is still in full effect especially in the Philippines where the number of confirmed cases has exceeded 40,000.
To prevent the further spread, the PBA has laid out guidelines where it limited practice sessions to 30 minutes with a maximum of five people inside the facility with four players and one coach or trainer at a given time.
The PBA will also create its own system of contact tracing wherein players, coaches, and team staff will have to report if they’ve been outside of their houses or if they accepted visitors during the lockdown.
Players are also responsible for taking care of their belongings, since no utility personnel will be allowed. No one is allowed to loiter inside the facility after practice.
“We just have to be extra careful especially at the start and make sure to follow protocols set by the league,” said Racela.
Austria, meanwhile, said that they will still need to clarify if practices are limited to just 30 minutes or if they can break down their usual two-hour practices to four sessions.
Practicing for 30 minutes, however, will be maximized and Austria said that the Beermen will use the time to focus on individual workouts and shooting drills.
“If sessions are 30 minutes each then we’ll focus more on shooting and individual drills because I know that the players can maintain their conditioning program at home,” said Austria.
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