THE PBA can start its eagerly-awaited practices this week, but practically all sessions would be under the Games and Amusements Board microscope.
This was the assurance made by no less than GAB chairman Abraham Mitra, who said the much-anticipated joint administrative order allowing the conditioning workouts should reach the PBA as early as today.
Also included in said go-signal is football.
“Next week, ako tingin ko, practice na PFF and PBA,” said Mitra during an online edition of The Chasedown last Saturday.
“Wednesday, Thursday, Friday they could start,” added Mitra. “Basically, it’s already out, it’s finished. Next week balik-practice na PBA, PFF.”
The JAO is made up of all the rules and guidelines prepared by the DOH, PSC and GAB and approved by the IATF, the country’s highest policy-making body for affairs related to the current coronavirus pandemic.
The order was expected to have come out last week, but Mitra said PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez did not sign it last Friday.
“Dumating yata sa office ni chairman ng around 4, 5 o’clock in the afternoon kaya di napirmahan,” related Mitra. “But it should be out by Monday.”
The absence of the JAO prevented the PBA from starting its no-contact practice sessions, which were initially set last Wednesday or Friday.
All the 12 PBA teams can now go ahead, according to Mitra.
Under the JAO, only four players and a trainer, all under the supervision of a safety officer, would be allowed to the otherwise closed-off practice gym per session.
Commissioner Willie Marcial had previously said all the players would also have to be swab tested for the virus three days before their scheduled practices
Mitra said his agency, which supervises all professional sports in the country, would be supplementing the sessions with their own safety measures.
“We will have personnel who will police, inspect each gym before and during those practices… make sure the health protocols are followed,” said Mitra.
“There has to be a government agency making sure (at least) minimum health requirements are followed,” added the former Palawan governor.
“Meron kaming medical division, composed of two doctors, several nurses. We have agreed
already with the PBA and PFF that we will all be there, sisilip lang dahil sa physical distancing. But we want to make sure all minimum health requirements are followed.”