PBA teams are allowed to start their practices next week, but Commissioner Willie Marcial stressed that more than a certain amount of caution and vigilance should be observed.
“Dapat kung ano mga inilatag na protocols, sundin,” Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Kung ano mga nandiyan ng protocols at ‘yung mga darating pa,” added Marcial. “Dapat lahat iyon masunod para sa ikabubuti ng lahat.”
The third-year commissioner spoke after confirming a Malaya-Business Insight report last Monday that the teams could start their return to the practice gyms on Monday, Jan. 18.
Marcial cited the recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases as main reason for the need to strictly follow the guidelines adopted from those laid down by the IATF before the PBA went ahead with its last Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
More safety protocols should be forthcoming, according to Marcial, following a meeting between league representatives and the GAB later yesterday.
“Sina (deputy commissioner) Eric Castro and (league legal counsel) Atty. Melvin Mendoza makikipag-meet. Pag-uusapam nila siguro ‘yung mga dagdag na protocols, kung paano (implementation),” Marcial said.
“Ipinapaalam lang namin kung ano plano namin kasi sila naglatag noon, bago mag-bubble.”
Each session, strictly a non-contact affair, will be limited to five players with five other personnel, including a safety officer, also present.
“Ganu’n pa rin,” related Marcial. “Puwedeng sampu, limang players lang, limang personnel. So walang pagbabago doon sa kung ano inutos sa atin dati.”
All players and personnel must first test negative for the virus before Monday and would have to undergo regular testing every two weeks.
“Basta wala munang scrimmages,” reiterated Marcial. “Shooting, physical conditioning lang muna.”
When 5-on-5 sessions would be allowed depends on what the virus situation would be in the weeks and months before the PBA’s planned start of the season in early April.
“Di pa natin alam kung sa Pebrero GCQ pa ba tayo,” Marcial said.