LIKE the vast majority of basketball-loving Filipinos, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero wants to have the PBA go ahead with its planned opening next month.
But not in a hasty and reckless manner.
“For me, masarap siyang matuloy para naman kahit papaano makatulong na gumaan pakiramdam ng mga Pilipino. Para may mapanood, makabalik sa dati,” Victolero told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“But of course maganda rin naman ang gagawin ng PBA na tingnan muna din kung ano ba ang makakabuti para sa lahat. Kasi siyempre ‘yung health natin ang nakataya. Not only the health of the team members but also ‘yung members ng family members nila.”
Victolero was referring to PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial’s statement earlier this week that the pro league would only decide what adjustments to make in its plans for the coming season based on what the government dictates.
The PBA had wanted to kick off the season on April 18 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo but Marcial admitted those plans had to be revisited due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, particularly in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces like Rizal.
Marcial also said the PBA Board will meet after the Holy Week to plot its next moves, foremost of which are whether to push back the opening or hold the games in a different venue.
Victolero, a former Coach of the Year awardee, agrees, saying: “Okay ‘yung desisyon na wait-and-see. After two weeks na ganito titingnan kung ano ang sitwasyon.
“Kung anuman ang maiisip ng PBA I’m sure na it would be best for everybody. Kasi hindi naman natin puwedeng madaliin, lalo na kung ganito kabigat mga nangyayari. Let’s wait and see. Kung hindi man maayos in the coming weeks siguro may maiisip ang PBA family natin para matuloy.”
There have even been rumors floating around that some PBA players have been infected although those remain unverified.
Victolero admitted to having heard such talks. “Parang nababalitaan ko lang, pero I’m not sure kung totoo man iyon,” he said.
What Victolero is sure of is the fact the Hotshots have remained blessedly free of the virus since they started non-contact workouts, involving only five players at a time, last month.
“Maganda lang sa amin, mula ng mag-umpisa kaming mag-practice hanggang ngayon walang nag-po-positive sa amin,” he said.
“Kaya I’m so proud of my players. Kumbaga ‘yung kanilang responsibilidad pinangangatawanan nila. Ang pakiusap ko lang, huwag maging kumpiyansa, lalong maging alert, laging gawin ‘yung tamang protocols,” added Victolero.
“Kasi lagi kaming lumalabas and then pag-uwi namin daratnan namin pamilya namin. Kaya kailangan naming mag-ingat. Basta ituloy lang ang magandang ginagawa. Kasi kapag may nag-positive hihinto kami. Babalik na naman kami sa zero.”
Victolero is also fine with the waiting game, which he hopes would bear a welcome result.
“Of course, maganda pa rin na matuloy,” said Victolero. “Kung ma-adjust man importante meron tayong hinhintay, meron tayong inaabangan.”