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PBA coaches assure: IATF protocols can be strictly implemented in practices

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Doable.

That’s how all PBA coaches view the league’s strict health protocols that could help safeguard the players from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease once practice sessions resume anytime soon. 

Coaches and team managers gathered at the PBA office and were briefed by Commissioner Willie Marcial, Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro, and Legal Counsel Atty. Melvin Mendoza on the guidelines the league will implement.

“I think it’s good. All we have to do is follow it,” said Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone.

The procedure requires all teams to take a COVID-19 test three days before training commences. After that, teams will again have to undergo COVID-19 testing every 10 days.

Moreover, all training facilities should initially be disinfected using hospital standard disinfection procedures, besides the usual before-and-after group workouts disinfection process.

Players are also required to follow the ‘closed circuit’ method that confines their travel to home — practice facility and back.

“I think the PBA has put up an effective guideline to safeguard the players. It’s just a matter of attitude from the players to maintain it,” said NLEX Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao.

Marcial said the meeting was well-attended and he heard some suggestions which he will relay to the Board of Governors during its meeting Saturday. “One inquiry was when will scrimmages be allowed,” he said.

Guiao said he sees no problem with the safety guidelines the league will implement. He added that the weight of the guidelines now rests on the players’ shoulders.

It’s up to them if we intend to keep everyone safe. Everybody should practice discipline at all times if we want this league to survive and likewise protect their livelihood,” he said.

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Guiao, though, wants to know where the league will draw the line, asking, “How do we define cluster cases from an outbreak?”

Marcial said he will bring Guiao’s concern before the board in Saturday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, coach Leo Austria of the defending, five-time Philippine Cup champions San Miguel Beermen said that he feels thrilled with the thought that he will be reuniting with his players again.

“It’s been four months (since the lockdown). So we really missed each other a lot. Having the opportunity to be together and work out together is a relief for everybody”, said Austria.

With regards to the protocol, Austria said the players must practice the 3 Ds — namely discipline, determination, and dedication to keep everybody safe.

In an earlier report, Marcial said that team practices might begin about “five to seven days” after the board meeting.

The PBA has been suspended since March due to the pandemic, but hope has sprung since the Inter-Agency Task Force last week allowed practice and conditioning for basketball and football as requested by the league and the Philippine Football Federation.

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