The PBA on Thursday was given provisional approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force to go ahead with the planned restart of the season on Oct. 11 under a bubble setup in Clark, Pampanga.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and chairman Ricky Vargas made the announcement in a hastily-called online press conference also joined by Bases Conversion and Development Authority CEO Vince Dizon and Clark Development Corporation head Noel Manankil.
Under the approval, teams will also be allowed to hold 5-on-5 scrimmages once they enter the Clark bubble that includes the Quest Hotel and the campus of Angeles University Foundation.
“We are happy and we are ready. The players are ready and I guess it’s all now in the hands of our commissioner to see this executed to perfection,” said Vargas.
Dizon clarified that the provisional approval is meant for amendments in the Joint Administrative Order of the Games and Amusements, Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Health.
The deputy chief implementor of the National Task Force against COVID-19, who presented the PBA bubble to IATF officials, said stricter guidelines will be observed in Clark compared to the JAO.
“Mas strikto ang PBA protocols kesa dun sa protocols sa JAO so kailangang ameyendahan na yun,” Dizon said. “Pero since mas strikto nga sa PBA at mas safe at mas stringent, then may authority na ang PBA na mag-begin.”
The approval came as teams underwent swab tests on Wednesday and Thursday as part of the pre-bubble requirements.
Players, coaches and staff are also required to undergo a strict five-day home quarantine prior to their bubble entry on Sept. 28 and 29.
Everyone will be tested anew and will observe a 24-hour quarantine period inside their hotel rooms in Clark before they can start holding scrimmages, provided they receive negative results.