By Waylon Galvez
NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao believes that the PBA can resume its season with right strategies that revolve around strict health protocol and live streaming of games online.
Guiao said that sports entertainment is one of the many things that people miss after the implementation of the government lockdown, which is nearing two months since it was first announced last March 15.
For the veteran coach, the PBA – as a business – can thrive despite the health problem brought by the coronavirus that has infected millions of people and death of thousands around the world.
“Of course, kaya bumalik ng PBA,” said Guiao in a phone interview Saturday by Manila Bulletin. “If by May we resume with team practice and June we start to play, kaya naman.”
“But there should be a solid strategy, and testing should be the infrastructure in order to resume. I think even on a smaller scale, makakatulong ang PBA para hindi rin tayo maka-dagdag pa (in COVID-19 cases) if we are to return with the games.”
According to Guiao – a former legislator from Pampanga – his opinion is based on what is being considered by the Duterte administration as plans of resuming with several businesses once the lockdown, or the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), is lifted by April 30.
He said that all team members should be tested regularly after practice and matches, and that testing kits and testing institutes should also be available with daily monitoring from team doctors.
“The league should be in touched and have an arrangement with any testing institution so there is access in testing every two or three days. The backbone of this strategy is the availability of mass testing and contact tracing… that’s the challenge,” said Guiao.
As for the games, Guiao said the PBA should consider resuming even without an audience at the venue.
“No fans. Ang pwede lang, of course team members and officials, the essential personnel for the games. With that we still practice social distancing. Ang wala ka nga lang yung gate attendance,” he said.
The access of the games, he said, is through the Internet.
“Fans can view the games through Internet, more than ever, gusto na ng tao makanood and ma-entertain. Ma-distract man lang sila sa mga nangyayari sa atin ngayon,” said Guiao.
“Isa ang sports sa magta-thrive after this pandemic, but not in the way na kung ano ang dati nating nagagawa with the presence of audience. That may take a year if we want to see people at the venue.”
Guiao said that without a doubt, people are excited to see the games, saying: “In terms of viewing and interest, I’m sure papanoorin tayo ng tao.”
“Isa tayo sa industries that can rebound in a big way, and the PBA should lead the way. Dapat, ngayon pa lang ang PBA nagpo-formulate na nga mga new systems and start adapting to the new normal,” added Guiao.
Even before the pandemic, the PBA has been maximizing the use of the Internet through its social media pages, and Guiao said that experience should be helpful in terms of using it as a tool during this time.
The league opened its 45th Season last March 8, but following the government’s announcement of the ECQ, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and the board decided to postpone the Philippine Cup.