The PBA expects to receive the nod from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) this week so that all member teams can finally begin scrimmages.
The league on Monday submitted a letter to local pro sports’ regulatory body seeking the clubs’ return to practices, alongside the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) resolution and its updated set of health and safety protocols.
Asia’s pioneering pro league has already received permission from the IATF to hold full practices in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and MGCQ.
“Nakausap ko si Chairman [Baham] Mitra. In principle, okay siya. Hinihintay lang namin ‘yung letter niya,” Commissioner Willie Marcial said Wednesday.
“Sigurado within this week. Tingnan ko hanggang bukas — o mamaya.”
The fourth-year league chief met with the coaches and team managers also last Monday, then convened with the players the following day. There, he discussed matters related to the looming resumption of practices.
In those meetings, Marcial called once again for their cooperation as the league aims for hitch-free scrimmages as part of its bid to gain the authorities’ approval for the staging of Season 46, which has a target opening in June.
“Sinabi ko make or break ‘to.
“Magtulungan tayo, kasi ‘pag napaganda ‘tong scrimmages na ‘to na wala masyadong aberya — o kaya walang aberya — maitutuloy natin ang ating season,” he said.
Barring problems, teams could start practicing by next week. Meralco, though, is good to go on May 15 since it was the first team to undertake swab testing last week. The Bolts will be training in Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
“May nagpa-test na nung last week. Alam ko Meralco nagpa-test na, ready to go sila na sa 15,” Marcial shared. “Pa-Ilocos sila.”
As reported by the league’s official website, NLEX, Blackwater, and Rain or Shine were scheduled for their initial tests Tuesday. The rest of the teams, meanwhile, are to follow suit Wednesday or Thursday.
“Kahapon may nagpa-test na. Sunud-sunod na testing, magpapa-test na ‘yang mga ‘yan. Kasi seven days before,” said the amiable executive.
All teams will be tested for a second time two days before the start of their training. The PBA has also updated its testing protocols. “Swab testing seven days before, and two days bago mag-practice,” Marcial said.
Asked about the other teams’ return to practice plans, Marcial said that he is giving them until tomorrow to tell his office if they will hold camp in Batangas City — which, two weeks ago, opened its doors to the league for workouts.
“Bibigyan ko sila ng hanggang tomorrow, sabihin nila sa’kin kung magpa-practice sila sa Batangas,” he said, “Kasi ang Batangas okay na LGUs.
“So binigyan ko sila hanggang tomorrow kung anong desisyon nila. Tapos ‘yung team natin sa Batangas, pupunta ulit sa Biyernes kasi may team na nagsabing magpa-practice sila sa Batangas eh.”