Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial paid a courtesy call to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos at the agency’s headquarters at Makati City, Tuesday.
In the brief meeting, the two officials discussed ways to forge stronger coordination amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Marcial likewise sought guidance from the MMDA chief regarding existing rules and regulations of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on contact sports, particularly basketball.
“Basketball is the Filipinos’ national pastime. But there is no denying that the PBA is faced with a tough challenge now because of the pandemic,” said Abalos, the former mayor of Mandaluyong City.
Abalos also vowed to help the PBA and the basketball industry as a whole, which has been among those badly affected by the prevailing health crisis.
According to him, they will work on some actions to be undertaken which will be acceptable by the IATF, ensuring that the minimum health protocols being implemented by the government shall be strictly observed and adhered to.
“We have to ensure the safety of everyone, not only the players but the general viewing public. We cannot compromise the health and well-being of all,” said the former lawmaker, who’s been the head of MMDA since January of this year.
The PBA has been cleared by the IATF to conduct scrimmages in GCQ and MGCQ areas, but aren’t allowed to do so in Manila yet as the capital and the nearby provinces are under GCQ with heightened restrictions.
Under the said quarantine classification which will last until May 31, recreational venues such as indoor sports courts should remain closed.
But all 12 member teams should be back to training before the week concludes. Nine ball clubs are off to Batangas City, while the three MVP teams are up north, with Meralco in TNT in Ilocos Norte and NLEX in Clark, Pampanga.
Aside from the Bolts and the Tropang Giga, all other teams will hold their respective practices in a closed-circuit set-up.