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Willie Marcial hopeful for August 25 start for PBA team practices

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Tiebreaker Times Willie Marcial hopeful for August 25 start for PBA team practices Basketball News PBA  Willie Marcial PBA Season 45 Coronavirus Pandemic

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial has his fingers crossed that Metro Manila will revert to general community quarantine, so that the league can finally start its long-delayed workouts by August 25. 

All 12 teams were raring to hold practices once more, until the government put the capital under modified enhanced community quarantine again as novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to rise.

Metro Manila is under MECQ from August 4-18. Whether or not it will be extended will be known by Monday, August 17.

“Kapag nag-GCQ na tayo — sana — by August 19, dire-diretso na rin kami,” Marcial told Tiebreaker Times over the phone, Sunday afternoon.

“So, sana maka-umpisa na tayo by August 25.”

The league is all set to buckle down to work as it has everything planned out, including the important swab testing of teams, which the amiable executive said will take place on August 20-21.

All squads except the San Miguel-owned ball clubs were set to undergo swab test at the Makati Medical Center last August 6-7, but the metro was put under MECQ, prompting the league to push it back.

“Mayroon kaming testing by August 20-21, tapos two to three days ‘yung resulta,” Marcial said.

“Buti pumayag sila sa rescheduling. August 6-7 dapat tayo eh, pinalipat natin sa August 20-21.”

The PBA and other pro leagues like Philippine Football League and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 have received the green light to practice following the signing of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO).

The JAO is a set of guidelines made by the Department of Health, the Games and Amusement Board, and the Philippine Sports Commission for the pro leagues to adhere to for their practices.

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But then, resumption of workouts stalled once more as the JAO says that group activities are not allowed under MECQ.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra, though, looked at the silver lining of the delayed return, saying that it could give more time for the agencies to further improve the JAO “to adapt with what’s happening”.

And through its initiative, the regulatory body for pro sports in the country has helped the PBA in making slight adjustments in its set of guidelines.

Marcial said that the health officer accompanying the four players and the coach during the per-batch workouts should have a medical background, such as the physical therapists of teams.

“Inano ni GAB na one, dati ang health officer, kailangan may medical background. So pwede mga PT, hindi pwede ‘yung mga assistant coaches. Basta may medical background,” he said.

And from 10 days, testing will now be held every 14 days. Players are also allowed to take a shower, although they will still have to follow the home-gym-home routine of the closed-circuit concept strictly.

“Noon every ten days ang testing natin, ngayon every fourteen days na,” Marcial said.

“Tapos dati, pagkatapos ng practice uwi na, ‘di tayo nagpapa-shower. Pero ngayon gusto nila mag-shower muna ang players bago umuwi.”

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