PBA: Team practice gets IATF nod

Games to follow next? Excitement, anticipation, hope greet announcement of return
Commissioner Willie Marcial says the PBA is on track after the Inter-Agency Task Force allowed the resumption of practices under strict health guidelines. (PBA Images)

The PBA said the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force to allow the resumption of practices under strict health guidelines is an added boost to the pro league’s bid to restart the suspended 45th season.

PBA teams can now hold practices based on the IATF resolution released Friday, though they will have to abide by the measures to ensure the safety of the players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On track pa din tayo sa PBA, at sana magtuloy-tuloy na to,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, who added that an emergency meeting has been set with members of the Board of Governors to discuss the decision.

Marcial is also to meet with coaches from all 12 teams on July 10 to discuss the safety measures and to find out whatever concerns need to be addressed.

Alaska head coach Jeffrey Cariaso (PBA Images)

“We are very excited to get back on the court,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso. “We know that the first step is to have small group workouts and build from there. Right now, we will take any court activity that’s allowed. We miss the baskets, the balls and the smell of the gym.”

Phoenix head coach Louie Alas, right, and assistant coach Topex Robinson (MB File Photo)

Phoenix Super LPG mentor Louie Alas is also “looking forward” to seeing his team get back into training, but added that “hopefully (there will be) super strict measures.”

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone, on the other hand, said important details need to be ironed out before they can think of heading back to their practice facilities.

tim cone
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone (PBA Images)

“So much details need to be worked out,” said Cone. “We’ll still need to find out what the exact protocols will be from the PBA. A lot of work still left to do before we get back on court.”

The PBA had proposed that practices will be divided into batches composed of four players and one trainer each under the watchful eye of a safety officer.

Several teams have already made plans in anticipation of the return. San Miguel Beer team manager Gee Abanilla said “we are still going to meet up and brainstorm on our resumption plans. We have our raw data already with us.”

Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo said the Bolts already have mapped out plans on how to execute the protocols, but said that resumption of training won’t be finalized until the league gives a go-signal for a target date.

“The moment na magbigay sila ng date kung kailan, siyempre we will try to start by the allowable date,” said Trillo.

NorthPort counterpart Bonnie Tan, for his part, has already coordinated with Green Meadows upon hearing the IATF approval. The exclusive village has an indoor court where the Batang Pier regularly holds practices.