The PBA hopes that it can conduct tune-up games a week before the 46th season raises its curtains at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Commissioner Willie Marcial is set to seek clearance from authorities regarding this in an aim to help the member teams better prepare for the cage wars. The season opens on July 16 following the Inter-Agency Task Force’s approval
“‘Yung ibang nakausap kong teams, two weeks ago kundisyon na sila. Pwede na raw sila maglaro. Pero sinabihan ko na rin ‘yung mga governors kanina, ‘yun nga, nagrerequest sila kung pwede sila mag-tuneup games,” he said.
“So sabi ko, hintayin ko lang ‘yung JAO (Joint Administrative Order) na baka pwede na tayo mag-tuneup games.”
The fourth-year league chief said that tune-ups do not necessarily have to be held in Metro Manila. They are fine with doing so in Batangas, since all 12 teams have been going there to and fro for their scrimmages.
“Kahit hindi sa NCR,” Marcial said. “Kunwari may mga teams naglalaro sa Batangas, sila-sila muna — kung papayagan tayo.”
The tune-ups could also serve as a way for the league to gear up for the grind ahead. They would meanwhile help in testing out the health and safety protocols it will apply during the course of the season.
Marcial said that the protocols will be similar to the ones the PBA used in last year’s Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, albeit stricter ones.
“‘Yung ibang protcools katulad pa rin ng dati sa bubble. Pero bago magsimula, may three days initial test bago mag-opening sa lahat — players, coaches, referees, empleyado. Sa halip na 14-day cycle kami, 10-day cycle na po,” he said.
“Strict po ‘yung mga protocols namin, kung ano po ‘yung mga dapat gawin. At mag-uusap pa rin ang DOH (Department of Health), PBA, GAB (Games and Amusements Board) regarding po sa amendment ng JAO kung papaano.”
Ensuring the safety of all involved is of utmost importance for the PBA. And so Marcial reminded once more that violators will be apprehended.
As he said in the past, a hefty 75,000-peso fine and a 10-day suspension without pay await those who will get caught.