THE PBA is working closely with television coveror TV5 to give the games a “live” atmosphere in a playing venue shut down from the public by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Regular ang usapan namin ng (TV5) para sa mga puwedeng gawin sa kanilang coverage,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Siyempre, una doon ‘yung kung papaano parang puno ang venue para gaganahan lalo maglaro ang players kahit walang fans na p’wedeng manood ng live,” he added.
The PBA, forced by the pandemic to suspend all operations last March 11 after having played just one game in the Philippine Cup, hopes to resume tournament play starting mid-October.
Through it all and even during the players’ return to the practice gyms expected later this month, stringent safety and health protocols culled by the PBA from the different professional sports leagues around the world must be followed.
“Marami tayong nakuha, lalo na sa NBA,” Marcial said, giving a couple of examples taken from the current NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“Tulad nu’ng timeouts. Imbes na dating huddle na lahat ng players nakapalibot sa head coach, ‘yung lima lang na naglalaro lalapit habang nasa pinakagitna lang coach. Pero bawal pa din sobrang dikit. May distancing pa rin,” added Marcial.
“Tapos ‘yung mga table officials may partition sa isa’t-isa. Pati ‘yung referee kapag lumapit sa table, halimbawa para sa review, hanggang doon lang siya outside ng partition.”
The PBA also dipped into the protocols being followed in other professional leagues like the MLB and football.
“‘Yung sa baseball lang, 57 pages iyung protocols nila kaya siguradong meron tayong makukuha doon, samantalang du’n sa (German top-tier football league) Bundesliga natin nakuha iyung bubble natin na home-gym-home lang mga players,” narrated Marcial.
Safety and security personnel would also be deployed in strategic locations inside the venue to ensure the protocols are strictly followed.
Marcial has tweaked some of the protocols the PBA has set. In the course of their conditioning and workouts and during the full scrimmages expected next month, players would undergo swab tests not every 10 days as Marcial initially stated but every couple of weeks.
Also, the players would now be allowed to take a shower after each practice session or game before going home.
The public, however, will still be banned from watching the games live and Marcial said he and TV5 are trying to come up with ways to continue that special relationship between the players and the fans.
Earlier, Marcial said the Smart Araneta Coliseum is the lone venue open to them to play games in and the PBA and TV5 hope the make the Big Dome appear and sound like it’s not so barren.
“Sabi ng TV5 balak nilang maglagay ng cameras sa loob ng mga bahay, halimbawa.
Kukunan nila cheers, reaction ng mga tao at ipapalabas sa mga LED screens sa loob ng Araneta,” related Marcial.
“So maglalagay din siguro tayo ng mga cardboard cutouts ng fans tulad sa NBA at pati ‘yung sound effects ng mga usual nating naririnig sa loob ng venue.”