‘PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed that some ball clubs have already begun their preparations for the 46th season, targeted to start by April.
“May nagte-training na,” said the affable executive in a Zoom media conference moments after the league’s board meeting Thursday.
Marcial did not name which of the 12 teams have already hit the ground running. He did reassure that their respective practice facilities have already undergone inspection by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
They have also received permission from the local government units (LGUs) to stage their workouts, he added.
“Pinayagan na ng LGU at tinignan na ng GAB ‘yung mga facilities nila,” said the fourth-year league chief.
Practices are still held per-batch, though, as scrimmages are not allowed yet. However, the number of personnel allowed inside a facility has increased from six to 10 – five players and five coaches or trainers.
“Dati four plus two, ngayon five plus five – pero ‘yung other five, mga coaches o mga PTs,” explained Marcial, as the league previously only allowed four players and two coaches during the per-batch practices held prior to the bubble season last year.
Teams are also still following the other health protocols set from the initial closed-circuit practices, added Marcial.
The PBA aims to begin Season 46 on its birthday on April 9, but everything remains in the balance due to the coronavirus situation in the country. The league is still taking a wait-and-see approach.
“Titignan pa natin,” Marcial said. “Tulad ngayon, baka ma-extend ‘yung community quarantine ng Metro Manila. So by March or late Feb, kung malalaman na natin anong kundisyon, baka pwede na tayo mag-desisyon.”
And if ever – if and only if – the league decides to open shop on its targeted date, its top brass would prefer to have its teams inoculated first, since vaccines could arrive in the coming months.
Marcial said that his office will write a formal letter to the Philippine Red Cross headed by Sen. Richard Gordon for the shots.
“Inatasan ako ng board na kumuha ng vaccine through Red Cross para sa mga teams,” he said.
“Susulat ako sa Red Cross, kay Sen. Gordon, ng x amount of vaccines na bibilhin ng PBA.”