PBA coaches agree, return to practice a big step toward Philippine Cup resumption

Published August 25, 2020, 5:05 PM

by Waylon Galvez

From left, Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferada, Prince Rivero and Asst. coach Mike Buendia of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters practice at Reyes Gym on Tuesday. (PBA Images)

Now that PBA teams have resumed practice sessions, following strict health guidelines set up by the government, keeping every individual negative from the coronavirus disease will decide if there would be a resumption of the league’s Philippine Cup.

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao sees things this way as players were allowed to finally work out at training facilities for the first time since March 8 when games and team practice sessions were called off due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is the first step to going back to playing basketball under this ‘new normal’ circumstances. We’re glad that finally back even in small groups,” said Guiao when contacted by Manila Bulletin.

“We’ll see how this works, all the health protocols, the guidelines we have for players, trainers, coaches, medical personnel, we’re hoping for everyone’s safety – that’s the most important thing.”

Meralco mentor Norman Black shares the same sentiment since players and all involved in the training will undergo swab testing again after 10 days, which is part of the protocol.

With players moving from their respective homes to the gym and back to their families, Black said he is hoping everybody will practice safety measures to reduce the risk of infection .

“Of course we hoping for the best, that after 10 days, when all the players and coaches take another swab test, we get negative results,” said Black, whose team is holding morning and afternoon training on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

The government, through the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), has allowed the PBA and Philippine Football League (PFL) – classified as professionals under the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) – to return to practice sessions.

The Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of GAB, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Health (DOH) formed the guideline for the PBA, PFL, and pro boxers.

Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said players were thrilled excited, but at the same time ‘extra careful’ on the first day of training.

“Everyone seems excited going back to the gym and do some skill work and conditioning drills,” said Garcia, whose team held practice session at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluying City.

“We’re following protocols given to the teams, and we’re being really cautious ’cause we want the league to start.”

Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso said the next two weeks is like a test for everyone, which would be evaluated by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, the PBA board and the government if practice sessions could continue and progress to scrimmages.

This is going to be important if we want to return (with the Philippine Cup). Hopefully everything will be OK, everybody is safe and healthy,” said Cariaso.