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PBA hopes scrimmages will be allowed by August

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Having gained the nod from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to conduct practices, the PBA next seeks clearance to run scrimmages for teams by August.

Commissioner Willie Marcial is upbeat over their chances, just as he was back in June when the league was still seeking the approval of the Task Force to return to action at least in workouts.

“Tulad ng sinasabi ko, na ininterview niyo ‘ko dati kung anong chances, sinabi ko seven to eight … Ganun pa rin ako. Seven to eight pa rin ang chances na sana makabalik na tayo,” he said in Tuesday’s PSA Forum, which is powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Beer, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

The Commissioner’s Office is already in the process of creating protocols for the scrimmages. Marcial said that it would be much stricter than the ones set for the per-batch practice sessions set tentatively on July 22.

It is also critical that players cooperate with the guidelines for practices in the league’s request for scrimmages. All players will be fully monitored on their actions under the ‘closed circuit concept.’

“Gumawa na kami ng protocols pang scrimmages. Marami, at mas mahigpit tayo roon. Mas masinsin ‘yung protocols natin kasi scrimmages na eh,” Marcial said.

“Titignan natin kung paano — dun nga sa logs ng mga players, kung papano disiplina nila. Makikita natin kung paano para sa scrimmages, kaya itong baby step natin na practices, malaking bagay ‘to eh.

“Dito, makikita natin kung meron bang nag-positive — kung meron man, minimal ba — or sumusunod ba sa protocols ‘yung mga players. Malaking bagay ‘to,” furthered the third-year commissioner.

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Regarding the creation of protocols, Marcial said that the league isn’t just looking at the NBA — which is set to restart its 2019-20 season next month in Orlando, Florida — but other sports leagues abroad as well.

“Sa lahat, hindi lang sa NBA. Sa baseball, sa football, lahat. Kausap ko nga ‘yung ManCom ko, lahat i-monitor nila. Kung anong kagandahan doon, idadagdag rin namin sa aming mga protocols,” he said.

But as upbeat as he is, Marcial is aware of the country’s current situation during this COVID-19 pandemic, where positive cases have passed 57,000, per the latest bulletin of the Department of Health.

The amiable executive remains vigilant of the health situation, since it will play a major factor in the bid of Asia’s pioneering pro league to resume its season, which has been suspended since March 11.

“Kahit siguro ‘di ako sa PBA o personal ko, concerned talaga tayo. Kasi, para sa’ting lahat ‘yan eh. Nakakatakot kung papa’no umatake itong pandemic na ‘to. Concerned tayo,” he said.

“At ‘pag tumaas-taas ‘yan, bumababa ‘yung chances natin makabalik — tataas yan, bababa ‘yung chances. Bababa ‘yan, kami naman ang tataas ang chances na makabalik. Opo, talagang concerned po kami sa nangyayari sa bansa.”

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