THE PBA may have to play its waiting game a little bit longer.
Commissioner Willie Marcial admitted he does not have an idea on the specific date when the eagerly-awaited joint administrative order allowing PBA teams to return to the gyms in small groups despite the lingering coronavirus pandemic would come.
“Hindi natin alam,” said Marcial. “Marami rin kasing ibang iniintindi ‘yung mga parties involved, lalo na ‘yung task force, kaya wala tayong magagawa kundi maghintay.”
Even GAB chairman Baham Mitra could not come up with a specific date. “Maybe later this week,” he said.
The PBA has targeted either today or Friday as the tentative dates for the practices, depending on whether the GAB, PSC, DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force have forwarded a signed copy of the JAO to the league.
That means the start of practices could be pushed back in the absence of such a document, which would make official the IATF announcement last July 3 that PBA and football teams could return to workouts in clusters and under very strict safety protocols.
Despite the delay, Marcial insisted the PBA remains on track.
“Pasok pa rin naman tayo sa target natin,” he explained. “July, kahit late July, balik tayo sa gyms for conditioning. Then sa August, hopefully, makapag-start naman tayo ng scrimmage.”
The players doing their own individual workouts while the PBA has been on hold since March 11 should make their return to game-shape faster, added Marcial.
Marcial spoke before a meeting with either or both Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy and brother Silliman at the commissioner’s Libis, QC office yesterday to clear the air between them regarding the Elite’s unauthorized practice two Saturdays ago.
The PBA has slapped Blackwater a P100,000 fine and required its players to undergo swab tests and a mandatory seven-day quarantine.
But more penalties may come Blackwater’s way.
The PBA Board frowned on Dioceldo’s heated statements last Wednesday following the threat by both the league and GAB to penalize him for the unsanctioned practice.
Claiming his heart was no longer in the pro league his team joined prior to the 2014-15 season, Dioceldo threatened to sell his franchise for P150 million, a no-no in league rules which require an owner to inform the governors first about his intentions.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas is expected to come up with a decision after convening all the other governors.
Sy has since calmed down and personally apologized to Mitra in their face-to-face meeting last Monday.
Mitra, accompanied by Commissioner Edward Trinidad, related the apology has been accepted but Blackwater still faces possible sanction from the government agency supervising professional sports.