PBA teams could begin holding scrimmages by May 18 at the earliest following the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Friday.
The league has finally been given the green light to hold full practices in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ, indeed a big development in its aspirations to stage Season 46 amidst the pandemic.
“Kung magsisimula tayo by 10, siguro by May 18, baka magsisimula na tayo,” said Commissioner Willie Marcial in a virtual presser.
Still, scrimmages are subject to the health protocols imposed by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the local government, and the league per se.
Marcial said that he will meet the coaches and managers of teams next week to discuss matters, such as the updated set of safety measures.
“Magtatawag ako ng meeting with the coaches, the players, team managers next week para malaman namin ‘yung mga protocols,” he said.
“Meron kaming bagong sistema para sa testing. Kailangan seven days before, na-swab ka, two days before na-swab ka na — at nasa amin ang resulta. Kung walang resulta, hindi makakalaro,” he added.
Teams have only been practicing per batches before the implementation of stricter lockdown measures in Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal due to the spike in COVID-19 cases,
But now, all 12 member ball clubs can finally conduct five-on-five practices in areas placed under more relaxed community quarantine measures following the issuance of IATF Resolution No. 144.
Batangas City has already agreed to host training camps since it is under GCQ, and Marcial and Co. had already inspected three possible venues for such — Batangas City Coliseum, Lyceum-Batangas, and Batangas State University.
But the city down south isn’t the only location that teams could hold workouts at, as there are also others eyeing to stage their practices up North — particularly in Ilocos Norte and in Clark, Pampanga.
For Marcial, it’s all up to the teams where they prefer to practice, as long as they comply with the necessary requirements.
“Walang problema. Kailangan lang approval ng JAO [Joint Administrative Order], ng GAB, at ng LGUs [local government units], at protocols natin,” the fourth-year league chief said.