PBA teams looking after players, imports but scrimmages still off—Marcial
Safety continues to be a primary issue for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), which has canceled scrimmages and has ensured that all local players and imports are being paid despite the current pause in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
“As of now, salaries of players are still being played,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told SportsIQ, the Inquirer’s sports talk show, in an episode that was aired Saturday night.
“Everyone is being taken care of by their respective teams,” he added.
The PBA was supposed to resume on Jan. 5 after the holiday break, but the games were postponed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Metro Manila under alert level 3 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Cases hit a low of 22 on Dec. 19, 2021, but went on a surge starting on the 29th with the number of infections reaching 37,103 last Jan. 14. The country hit a new high on Saturday with 39,004 cases.
The Department of Health on Saturday said it expects its active case load to double by the middle of February.
Marcial has said the league is using February as some sort of a threshold and it will need to comb through difficult options should the Governors’ Cup remain in a freeze by that month.
To help contain any surge within the PBA community, Marcial has banned scrimmages, limiting practice sessions to just a few people at a time. Marcial said only four players, along with a coach and a medical officer, are allowed to train at the same time inside their teams’ respective facilities.
“There are no scrimmages right now because that would just defeat the purpose so we’re really taking extra steps right now,” said Marcial. “We’re only allowing four players at a time in the gym.”
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