Attention PBA fans: 12 teams brace for return to practice

Starting point to salvage one conference – NLEX coach Yeng Guiao
In this file photo, San Miguel Beer's Terrence Romeo, center, drives past Magnolia players during the first match of the postponed Philippine Cup last March. (PBA Images)

With the official letter allowing PBA teams to start practice sessions expected to come out Monday, ballclubs are now getting ready to push the ‘restart button’ and kick off training this week.

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said Sunday that resuming the practice session is a step at returning to actual play.

“Matagal na naming inaantay yan, and we're all excited to start practicing even in small groups, maski na paunti-unti musa sa umpisa,” said Guiao when contacted by Manila Bulletin.

yeng guiao
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao (PBA Images)

“I think this is the starting point to salvage at least one conference this year. Now we’re given that challenge, it’s now our responsibility to keep ourselves and our own team personnel safe.”

San Miguel Corporation athletic director Alfrancis Chua said they are also awaiting the official call.

Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua (MB File Photo)

“Hinihintay lang namin kung kelan start ensayo,” he said, adding four players (from each of SMC’s member teams) and a trainer are set to start practicing on an alternate basis.

READ: Back to basics for SMC teams – sports director Alfrancis Chua

Last Saturday, Games and Amusement Board chairman Baham Mitra said teams from the PBA and the Philippine Football League can schedule training this week since the official letter is expected to be released Monday.

“Ang feeling ko magpa-practice na yan Wednesday, Thursday or Friday… by next week. I’m sure of that,” said Mitra on his appearance at The Chasedown on One PH of Cignal TV.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said they are grateful to the government’s approval to allow the league to resume practice session, saying: “Nagpapasalamat tayo na OK na practice ng PBA.”

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial (PBA Images)

Mitra said that as formed and ordered by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the joint ‘technical’ group of the Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission and GAB has crafted strict health guidelines for the pro leagues.

The letter needs the signatures of Mitra, PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and DOH secretary Francisco Duque III before they release it to the PBA and PFL.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra

The PBA opened its 45th season last March 8, but wrapped after the inaugural game between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia owing the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Manok and San Miguel Beer, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial announced the cancelation of games and

The PFL, for its part, twice postponed its 4th season opening.

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.

Swab testing will also be required as agreed upon by the PBA governors during a recent meeting.