Order to start practices could be out soon
The much-awaited joint administrative order (JAO) formally clearing professional basketball and football teams to resume modified workouts could be issued next week, according to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“According to the Department of Health, the JAO is good to go next week,” GAB Chair Abraham Mitra told the Inquirer on Thursday afternoon.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was supposed to formally begin its return to nonscrimmage training sessions on July 22, only to be stalled with the JAO still unsigned.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, during a virtual press briefing on July 3, announced that the two sports have been given the go signal to resume training, sparking hopes that the PBA and the Philippines Football League (PFL) could still have tournaments with what’s left of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Representatives of the PBA and PFL met online on Wednesday to reaffirm their commitment to abiding to stringent health protocols, according to Mitra. Both leagues have laid out various methods ensuring its stakeholders’ safety.
“The [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] has approved this in principle and Secretary Roque was quoted giving go signal to practice,” Mitra said. “We [just] hope that the legal division reviewing it could [issue] it [as soon as possible] so that our … rested players could finally condition themselves,” he added.
“Their legal department may be reviewing it for liability and other legal issues,” Mitra said, when asked why the release of the JAO was delayed.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial maintained his optimism despite the holdup but noted the narrowing window in which the league could salvage its season.
Marcial, in a previous Inquirer interview, said that September is the latest the PBA could afford to hold workouts given its October target for a season resumption.
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