PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial has taken care of one pressing matter.
It’s now time for Marcial to refocus on inter-acting with personnel from all 12 teams hoping to hit the ground running if and once the league is given the green light to resume its drastically altered season.
“Balik ulit tayo sa paghahanda sa mga naka-schedule na meetings natin with the teams’ representatives,” Marcial said shortly after slapping TNT assistant coach Tab Baldwin with a P75,000 fine and a three-game suspension for the latter’s statements deemed detrimental to the league.
The meetings with players, two from each team, are set June 23 with separate conversations with coaches and team managers scheduled a little later.
“Initially, may meeting din dapat with the team managers but then may mga coaches na nagsabi i-meet mo rin kami,” Marcial said.
Marcial said he should brace for all questions that may be thrown at him.
“Nasabi ko ng anything under the sun ang pag-uusapan, pero siyempre baka may mga gusto silang malaman, itatanong, na kailangan handa tayo sa isasagot.”
The main concern, Marcial believes, is when the PBA could resume its activities and various other things that were put on hold last last March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Siyempre, ang sagot doon depende sa kung kailan tayo papayagan ng government,” said Marcial.
The priority at the moment, he added, is to get the teams back in the practice gyms.
The pro league is still waiting for a positive response from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Disease on when players could resume practices in small groups observing strict health protocols.
The pro league sent a letter to the IATF last Thursday asking for some exemptions from prevailing restrictions.
“Siyempre uunahin natin iyon dahil mahigit tatlong buwan na idle mga players,” explained Marcial.
Even the general community quarantine being extended until the end of the month does not faze Marcial, saying the government decision announced last Tuesday was expected.
Areas under the GCQ, including Metro Manila, where majority of PBA games are played, are not allowed mass gatherings, including team sports activities.
“Hindi pa na-ko-contain iyung virus kaya inaasahan na natin iyon,” said Marcial, adding he expects sports-related gatherings to start by July at the earliest.
“Right on schedule pa rin tayo dahil August ang inaasahan talaga nating pinaka-maagang pababalikin tayo sa practice gyms,” Marcial said. “Mga isang buwang pa-kondisyon then makakalaro na tayo by September, hopefully.”
Such scenarios, as well as the worst-case of the PBA having to scrap the season, are set to be discussed in August when the teams’ representatives convene.