PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is not looking beyond what’s in front of the league right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcial’s focus is solely fixed on giving teams the much-needed practice time they need for the games to take off as soon as the government gives the green light for sports-related mass activities like basketball.
“Kung ano lang most immediate, which is makabalik sa gyms ang mga teams para makapag-practice, makabalik sa game-shape,” Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
The outlines of such plans, including writing the Inter-Agency Task Force on ways how the teams could start practices in “small groups,” would be presented by Marcial to the teams’ representatives in an online meeting today.
“Iyung ibang governors present dito (PBA Commissioner’s Office) at iyung iba naman online,” Marcial said.
“Basta sa meeting i-pe-present ko sa kanila mga proposals ko tungkol sa safety protocols, paano gradual na punta sa full practices. Doon muna tayo,”
That, Marcial added, is the main reason why clear-cut guidelines from the IATF are needed.
“Halimbawa, once na pinayagan ng magbalik sa gyms, papayagan ba iyung mga tatlo hanggang limang players na mag-practice sabay-sabay?” posed Marcial.
“Kapag pinayagan iyon, bibigyan natin ng go-signal ang mga teams so they can work out kung paano nila i-i-schedule ‘yung players nila,” said Marcial.
Through all those practices, safety practices like sanitized gyms and equipment and physical distancing must be enforced.
“Pagkatapos ng small groups na iyon, uwian na, wala ng kuwentuhan pa,” stressed Marcial.
First and foremost, the teams must follow the suit of the San Miguel Corporation teams – San Miguel Beer, Magnolia and Ginebra – to have their players and personnel tested for the virus.
Said practices are needed, Marcial added, for the PBA to quickly resume its season that was put on hold March 11.
“Mas madali silang makabalik sa practices, sa game-shape, mas madali tayong makaka-resume by September, or October at the latest,” Marcial said.