The PBA is allowing its member teams to go to cities or provinces placed under more relaxed lockdown measures to resume their preparations for the next season, provided that they comply with the necessary requirements.
Commissioner Willie Marcial had advised the ball clubs to head to areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) if they plan to continue their build-up for the next cage wars eyed to start between May or June.
Per-batch workouts were halted once more when Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were put under stricter community quarantine measures last March following the resurgence of coronavirus cases.
“Sabi ko doon kayo sa mga areas na MGCQ,” the fourth-year league chief told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast, Tuesday.
Such an idea isn’t new anymore. Last year, TNT Tropang Giga went to the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna to train for the 2020 Philippine Cup, which was also held in a bubble set-up albeit in Clark, Pampanga.
The Calambubble was also the training facility used by Gilas Pilipinas last February before the implementation of a strict lockdown in the NCR Plus Bubble. The Nationals have returned to camp just this Monday.
That same venue was also used by boxing, karate, and taekwondo teams to gear up for qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo Olympics while other Philippine teams like archery and fencing have also been holding their own training bubbles in Dumaguete and Leyte, respectively.
Teams are required to submit an authorization letter from the Inter-Agency Task Force and the health and safety protocols of the local government unit where a team plans to hold its workouts at.
“One, kailangan namin ng letter from Task Force na pinapayagan kayo,” he told the session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp., MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and PAGCOR.
“JAO (joint administrative order) na okay, tapos LGU, kung ano ‘yung mga protocols. Gusto naming makita yung mga protocols ng LGU, protocols niyo, pagaaralan namin. ‘Pag okay, pwede sila mag-practice.”
However, Marcial clarified that that the imposed 20-percent salary reduction will remain in effect even if teams start their bubble training.
The pay cut — which will be among the players, coaches and their assistants, and some of the league’s employees — will only be lifted once the government allows scrimmages to take place.
“Pero, sinasabi ko, ‘di pa natin mababalik ‘yung salary cut. Pwede kayo mag-practice, pero salary cut pa rin tayo.”