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PBA to make sure teams follow protocols as practices begin

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PBA ball clubs have been eager to get back to the grind, and a majority of them immediately returned to practice, Tuesday.

Commissioner Willie Marcial told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that majority of teams have begun their workouts — their first since the league hierarchy suspended the 45th season due to the pandemic.

Barangay Ginebra — which usually holds its practices at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig — started its sessions early at 7AM, according to Marcial, who guested in the Forum together with PBA chairman Ricky Vargas.

“May nag-practice na kanina. Pinaka-maaga Ginebra, alas-siyete,” the amiable executive told the weekly session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp. Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, MILO, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), with Upstream Media as webcast partner.

Rain or Shine commenced its practice at 8 a.m. at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluyong. Meanwhile, Alaska, which usually practices at the Gatorade Hoops Center in the same city, began at 9 a.m.

Blackwater also started at 9 a.m. at the Aero Center in Quezon City. Defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen, who usually work out at the Acropolis Gym in Libis, held theirs at 10 a.m.

On the other hand, TNT will hold its own practices in a bubble set-up starting Wednesday at the INSPIRE Sports Academy inside the National University-Laguna campus in Calamba.

Marcial said that the other teams may start practicing later, as they have just sanitized their facilities to hospital standards.

“Kasi ‘yung iba kaka-ano lang nung hospital standard disinfection, so ayaw muna nilang puntahan kasi 24 hours ‘yun. Kaya male-late ‘yung practices nila,” the third-year commissioner said.

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Practices were and will be held per batch, meaning only six people — four players, a coach, and a health officer — are allowed in the facility at a time as part of the league’s strict health protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19.

Players will be fully monitored under the strictly closed circuit system. A hefty fine awaits those who will be caught violating the protocols, Marcial reminded.

“May surprise inspection kami. May teams na kami na iikot, two teams ‘yun. May mga video kami sa mga teams tapos may log pa kami sa mga players. ‘Yun ganun mga gagawin namin. ‘Pag nahuli sila, malaking fine ang aabutin nila.”

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