STRICT guidelines detailing what it would do should its activities resume has been crafted by the PBA and is set to be forwarded in the form of a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emergency Infectious Diseases.
The ball is now in the IATF-EID’s hands and the pro league is certainly hoping its specifications would meet the government agency’s approval and ultimately give approval for the PBA’s teams to return to practices.
“Bukas na bukas ipapadala na namin sa kanila,” PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said after face-to-face board meeting last Wednesday.
“Sana ma-aprubahan at mabigyan tayo ng clearance para makabalik na sa gyms at practices iyung mga teams natin,” added Marcial.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the PBA has been suspended since March 11 after playing only one game in its 2020 season-opening Philippine Cup.
Starting last Monday, Metro Manila and other parts of the country have been placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine and hopes are high pertinent restrictions regarding team sports activities would soon be eased up, too.
PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas of TNT is guardedly optimistic.
“The COVID situation is something we can’t predict,” said Vargas in an online presser.
“But as far as improvement in terms of where we are now, GCQ , and if we get into (modified general community quarantine) MGCQ and some of the facilities start opening, especially the arenas, then it gives us hope that we can open.
“Sabi nga ni Commissioner, let’s take it one step at a time, but right now is the time to start practicing and staying together.”
First, the rest of the teams must follow the San Miguel Corp. squads’ suit and get tested for the virus. All players, according to Marcial, will have to undergo a rapid test, a swab test, and another rapid test every 10 days before being allowed to practice.
Meralco, TNT and NLEX are set to be tested by next week, each hoping for negative results like those of San Miguel Beer, Magnolia and Ginebra.
Once allowed to go back to the gyms, practices would be conducted under strict safety protocols.
“Wala namang scrimmage. It’s a process, dahan-dahan lang. Wala munang games. The proposal is just return to practice, conditioning,” offered PBA Vice-Chairman Bobby Rosales.
“Checking of temperature, all health essentials, including alcohol, social distancing, apat (players) per session guided by a safety officer and a trainer,” enumerated Marcial.
“Pagkatapos ng session alis agad, walang shower. Then the next batch of six individuals hanggang matapos ang buong teams.”
“Idi-disinfect ang practice venue by hospital standard. Pagdating sa venue, kailangan naka-practice uniform na ang players. After practice, may proper disposal ng uniform. Five minutes lang, alis na sa venue,” Marcial added.
With regards to the gyms, the PBA will be implementing guidelines sterner than those recently mandated by FIBA in the latter’s Return to Basketball document.
“Nakita ko ‘yung protocols ng FIBA, lalo na sa game,” related Macial. “Mas may dagdag pa tayo. Mas strikto pa tayo sa game. Marami tayong guidelines. Katulad ng disinfection na ang pag-spray mo, kailangan hospital standard. Ang hospital standard, apat na spray ‘yun.
May spray, may mist, may foam, may flooring tapos may testing pa tayo, alcohol. Lahat ng pag-iingat, gagawin natin.”