ANOTHER slight delay in the PBA’s plans to return to the practice gyms has not diminished the enthusiasm of the teams.
“Matagal na naming inaantay ‘yan and we’re all excited to start practicing even in small groups, maski na paunti-unti muna sa umpisa,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said, speaking on behalf of counterparts.
“I think this is the starting point to salvage at least one conference this year,” added Guiao.
“Now that we’re given that challenge it’s our responsibility to keep ourselves and our own team personnel safe.”
Commissioner Willie Marcial said he is ready to notify the teams once a copy of the joint administrative order allowing them to return to practice reaches his office as early as yesterday.
“Kapag dumating sa akin ‘yung kopya nu’ng order, i-inform ko agad mga teams,” said Marcial.
The JAO, prepared by the DOH, PSC and GAB, contains all the rules and guidelines covering such practices and approved by the IATF, the country’s highest policy-making body for affairs related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“P’uede na kaming mag-start ng swab testing,” added Marcial, referring to the initial procedure all players must go through before they can participate in the practices, which would be non-contact and by batches composed of four players and a trainer each and under strict health protocols.
The tests will be conducted at the Makati Medical Center instead of at the San Miguel Corp. facilities, according to Marcial.
“Sa San Miguel Corp. puwede iyung sa kanila, puwedeng 200 o kung ilan, pero problema lang ‘yung resulta. Matagal pa iyon,” explained Marcial.
“Kasi dinadala pa sa DOH. By batches, bente-bente lang, trenta-trenta (by batch). So matatagalan tayo,” Marcial also said.
“Sa Makati Med mas mabilis labas ng resulta at, isa pa, MVP (Manny V. Pnagilinan) ang may-ari kaya nasa teams din natin. Parang keeping it within the (PBA) family.”
Pangilinan owns the TNT, Meralco and NLEX teams in the PBA.
That quicker pace should keep the PBA resumption, eyed by September at the earliest, within target and Marcial is making sure it stays on track.
“Ngayon nag-fi-fill up na ng (test) forms mga players, tapos i-e-encode na ng Makati Medical, tapos within two days testing na kami,” said Marcial.
“Pagkatapos ng resulta siguro within six to eight days starting Monday puwede na tayong magsimula. Ibig sabihin, by the weekend start na tayo.”