What if IATF thumbs down PBA request?

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    THERE is a slim chance the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will turn down the PBA’s request to start going back to the practice gyms.

    That would mean the PBA’s bid of resuming activities and taking the lead for other leagues would further be stalled and its efforts of salvaging at least part of its season put to naught.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial admitted that dire possibility exists.

    “Du’n na natin de-desisyunan, tulad ng sinabi namin, by August kung ano na mangyayari,” he said, referring to a thumbs-down reply from the government agency leading efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Kasi, kung practices, baka hindi pa payagan, so lalo pa iyung (actual) basketball,” added Marcial.

    In that case, the PBA Board will convene in two months’ time to decide on whether to resume the season or scrap it altogether.

    Marcial is optimistic it would not come to that.

    “Informally, mukhang positive,” said Marcial when asked how he expects the IATF’s response would be to the PBA letter  sent last Thursday requesting for players to return to the practice gyms and start working out in small groups.

    “Ang gusto lang natin kung kailan (papayagan),” said Marcial. “Tingnan natin, kung i-lift na susunod ‘yung quarantine. Mukhang maganda naman pero habang wala pa… kasi baka lumala, di wala na tayo. Kapag gumaganda ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas, gumaganda na rin ang sitwasyon ng PBA.”

    If ever the IATF allows team trainings to resume, Marcial hopes that it would eventually lead to a restart of the Philippine Cup.

    The PBA considered on top of organized sports events in the country, a positive feedback on the league’s request may ripple down to the other sports leagues affected by the pandemic like the NCAA and UAAP.

    “Sa pagkakatingin ko rin na kapag pinayagan ang PBA, hindi lang basketball baka lahat na nang sports dahan-dahan nang papayagan ‘yan,” said Marcial. “Malaking bagay talaga itong ginawa ng PBA na sana payagan.

    “Kapag pinayagan tayo hindi lang basketball kundi pati ibang sports matutulungan natin,” he added.

    The PBA shut down its operations last March 11, followed by the NCAA about a week later and the UAAP in early April.

    National leaders from athletics, basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, gymnastics and karate have also written the IATF, proposing a one-month trial program for athletes to resume training as well as detailed outlines of their health and safety protocols.

    The restart of other contact leagues overseas, including the return of the NBA season by July 31, is likewise a good test case the country’s top sports entertainment can bank on for the possible resumption of its season.

    “Nakikita nila hindi lang NBA, pati EuroLeague, football, ‘yung baseball yata magsisimula na rin. At ibang basketball leagues sa China, Korea. So malaking bagay sa amin ‘yun,” offered Marvcial.

    “Makakatulong ‘yun para ma-convince ang Task Force. Malaking tulong ‘yung mga liga na ‘yun. Maliit man o malaking liga, makakatulong sa PBA.”