ONE can’t be too careful in the face of the lethal coronavirus pandemic.
That is the mantra the PBA will stress once its players start returning to the practice gyms next week and get into prime condition for the expected resumption of the season, hopefully by mid-October at the latest.
“Kailangan ng ibayong ingat kaya talagang magiging mahigpit tayo sa pagpapatupad ng safety protocols,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight.
Marcial also said he will send another request to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in August seeking the return of scrimmages for the 12 teams and allow them to play 5-on-5 games among themselves.
At the moment, the IATF has only allowed practices and training in batches of four players and a trainer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“May protocol na ako pero nag-reresearch pa ako,” Marcial said. “Kukunsulta pa tayo sa mga doktor para kapag sinubmit ko uli sa Task Force, baka ma-level up na to scrimmages. Naghahanda na kami. Baka first week of August, ibigay ko na uli sa Task Force.”
Marcial spoke after a PBA Board meeting last Saturday where officials decided on more measures to ensure the players would go into and emerge from their conditioning workouts at the gyms safe and COVID-free.
The board convened a day after Marcial met with coaches and team managers, who gave their approval to the league’s plans.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, may gawa na akong protocols pero gusto ko munang makita ‘yung mga mangyayari sa practices kapag nagsimula na tayo,” Marcial said, describing his reply to a query by league vice-chairman Bobby Rosales on when full contact scrimmages could be held.
The board also agreed to conduct swab tests for its players during the course of the training.
“Sasagutin ng teams lahat ng hospital expenses kapag nagka-COVID ang players, tulad ng dati kapag na-injured ang players,” Marcial said. “So there’s no need for any insurance.”
The measures were put in place after the PBA was given the go-signal by the IATF to conduct practices for its teams under strict health guidelines to protect the players and coaches from the COVID-19 virus.
The PBA can also learn from the NBA which is set to resume action for playoff seedings in Orlando, Florida, starting July 30 (Aug. 1 in Manila).
“Makakakuha rin tayo ng parang template ng NBA,” Marcial said. “Baka by August, meron tayong maidadagdag o meron na tayong napag-aralan base nga du’n sa kung anong nangyari sa NBA. Gusto ko maging loaded ‘yung mga protocols na ilalagay ko sa bagong sulat sa task force para mas gumanda tsansa na papayagan tayo sa 5-on-5.”