With heightened restrictions, teams still need IATF OK to practice | Inquirer Sports

With heightened restrictions, teams still need IATF OK to practice

/ 04:03 AM May 18, 2021

Rain or Shine and San Miguel are both awaiting word to scrimmage. —PBA IMAGES

Several Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams are still waiting for local government units’ (LGU) go-signals to hold practices at their respective home gyms and remain hopeful that they are able to do so sometime this week.

“We are just waiting for word from the [league] as well as clearance from [the Quezon City] government,” San Miguel Beer team manager Gee Abanilla told the Inquirer on Monday.

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“We’ve submitted our formal request to Mandaluyong City to resume our practices at Reyes Gym,” said Rain or Shine’s coach Chris Gavina.

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However, Gavina said that the Painters were told that “even with our approval from the LGU, it still lies upon the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) to give us the approval to resume our practices, due to gyms still not being allowed to open.”

The Inquirer reached out to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and learned that clarification on this matter is being sought at the moment.

Marcial, however, was unable to provide a timeline as to when the issue will be resolved.

The IATF on May 7 gave the PBA its blessing to conduct scrimmages in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ). In the original version of the provision, teams can only hold full-contact training if an area is under modified GCQ.

The IATF eventually downgraded Metro Manila’s quarantine classification on May 14 to GCQ, but noted that “heightened restrictions” are still to be observed.

It was for scenarios like this that the league sought the assistance of Batangas City earlier this month. There, three venues will be readily available for teams in the event that quarantine restrictions prohibiting full-on scrimmages in Metro Manila stayed. However, the national government’s announcement last Friday signaled that PBA teams would no longer have to travel all the way to the southern town just to practice. Meralco was able to avoid dealing with such a predicament by taking up Gov. Matthew Manotoc’s offer to train in Ilocos Norte. The Bolts started camp in Laoag City on Monday.

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“Even though we have to be away from our families, we feel we could use this time to really bond with each other,” said Meralco guard Chris Newsome.

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The Inquirer also learned that TNT will join its sister team up North. INQ

TAGS: IATF, PBA, Sports

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