By Waylon Galvez
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial agrees with the idea of resuming the Philippine Cup without an audience, and using the internet as a tool to broadcast the games via online streaming.
But while Marcial is in favor of implementing a stricter health protocol by testing team members, resuming practices and games will depend on orders from the government.
“If we resume practice, and then the games, under kasi yan ng mass gathering na hindi pinapayagan ng gobyerno sa ngayon,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin Saturday, adding that the board discussed the testing and online viewing in a previous meeting.
“Siguro kung papayagan na magkaroon ng mass gathering, puwede na natin makonsidera. But for now, mukhang hindi pa feasible. But yes, agree tayo sa strict health protocol. Hintayin muna natin kung anong sasabihin ng government at dun natin i-base yung recommendation sa board,” he said.
Marcial was reacting to the views of NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, who said Friday that the PBA can allow teams to resume training next month and a June restart of the season opening conference.
Guiao said that the PBA, as a business, could thrive despite the health problem brought by the COVID-19.
The Philippines already has more than 6,000 confirmed cases and 400 deaths.
The PBA postponed the season shortly after the opener of the 45th season last March 8 due to the pandemic. The government later imposed an enhanced community quarantine throughout Luzon.
Guiao believes the PBA should lead the way with strict health protocols like the availability of testing kits and partnership
Meralco governor and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said the most important thing now is safety, and resuming the PBA games may take some time.
“My sentiments are still the same, safety and lives first,” said Panlilio. “For now, there is still no vaccine so there is still no cure. Testing has improved but I think we still need to test more.
“I’m happy to see that there are more recoveries now than deaths but still we have to be cautious. I don’t think we are at the point where we – the PBA – can decide to restart… but this is my personal opinion.”
PBA board vice chairman Bobby Rosales of Columbian Dyip said that they are looking at all options with regards to resuming with the games, including the things Guiao mentioned.
“All options on the table but too early to decide which option. We need to have a solid basis for whichever option to take. The health and safety of everyone remain to be the priority,” said Rosales.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel governor Alfrancis Chua shares Panlilio’s sentiment.
“Let’s play it by ear, ganun na lang siguro muna. Kapag sigurado na tayo then saka natin pagusapan. Let’s treat it like a fever, kapag di pa talaga magaling, wag muna baka mabinat… baka mas lumala,” said Chua.
“Besides, when we resume the games, per team we have what 15 players plus coaching staff and ballboy/utility. Let’s say 40-45 per team, then add to that the game officials and from the braodcasting and media. Madami pa din – mass gathering baka hindi pa payagan ng government.”
Chua also cited reported cases of patients who initially tested negative but after a few days were again confirmed positive for virus.
“We’re all concerned with the health of everyone, players and other team members. Minsan kasi may testing na una negative then after ilang days saka nakitaang ng symptoms – positive bigla. Our players, if they go back to their homes, siyempre family nila kasama nila,” he said.