Off to practice: Long wait over for PBA, PFL — GAB

Practice under strict protocol could commence next week
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra

Games and Amusement Board chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said he expects the official communication from the Inter-Agency Task Force giving the PBA and pro football to start practice sessions next week.

Mitra said the joint ‘technical’ group of the Department of Health,  Philippine Sports Commission and GAB has crafted health guidelines for both leagues.

 “It’s true that we get instructions from the IATF, pero meron kaming joint administrative order, the Department of Health, PSC at saka ng GAB… yun ang mag-govern sa practice sessions natin,” said Mitra on The Chasedown on One PH Saturday.

 Mitra said these guidelines need to be signed by members of the joint group, which include him, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.

 “Monday na lalabas yun (letter). Naging mahabang discussion yung liability – who will allow them, who will police them, go there and make sure that rules are being followed,” he added.

 Mitra said that GAB would send doctors and nurses to do random checks.

 This letter is what the PBA has been waiting for in order to allow the teams to return to sessions with four players, a coach and a trainer at the gym for one hour.

 Aside from disinfecting the facility before and after use, other important health protocols must be followed like physical distancing. Even taking a shower after the workout is not allowed and players are advised to bring their own water bottles at the gym.

 One vital requirement before the start of practice is for team members to undergo swab testing, with the results available in a day or two.

“Ang feeling ko magpa-practice na yan Wednesday, Thursday or Friday… by next week I’m sure of that,” said Mitra, referring to the PBA teams and the pro clubs from the Philippine Football League.

 The PBA opened its 45th season last March 8 with a game between Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and San Miguel Beer. But PBA commissioner Willie Marcial announced the cancelation of succeedin games and practices after COVID-19 blew up.

The PFL, likewise,had to postpone its 4th season twice, but is hoping to restart with the training before pushing on with the tournament anytime this year or early 2021.