MECQ status foils return of practice sessions

PBA, Chooks 3x3, PFL practice sessions delayed anew
PFF president Nonong Araneta, Chooks 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial (Handout / PBA Images)

The planned return of practices in the professional level suffered a setback after the government imposed Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces beginning Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday approved the recommendation of the Department of Health and Inter-Agency Task Force to implement the stricter quarantine measure after a group of health workers expressed concern over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

With MECQ set to be implemented at least until Aug. 18, training sessions of PBA, Chooks to Go Pilipinas 3x3 and Philippines Football League teams will be delayed anew.

Only individual practices are allowed in MECQ areas based on the Joint Administrative Order of the Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and DOH.

Practices are only permitted in GCQ and MGCQ areas, provided that safety protocols are observed.

“The MECQ will give them enough time to comply with the 14-day home quarantine and health monitoring,” said GAB chairman Baham Mitra.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said Monday morning that he will ask the Makati Medical Center to push back this week’s scheduled swab testing of nine of the 12 ballclubs due to the new community quarantine rules.

READ: PBA: Swab testing to be implemented per team basis

The three teams of San Miguel Corporation will have theirs done in the company’s own testing facilities. The PBA is mandating teams to take swab tests before they can begin training sessions.

“Sana maging OK na tayo after Aug. 18,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin yesterday morning, adding that players can continue with their individual training based on the JAO.

Chooks 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, meanwhile, said that the implementation of an MECQ won’t cause any major delays in its own plans to resume practice while also referring to the 14-day health monitoring mentioned by Mitra.

“Slightly delayed lang yung testing protocol namin,” Altamirano said.

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Most players and staff of PFL clubs, on the other hand, tested negative after undergoing RT-PCR procedure at the office of the Philippine Football Federation last month.

PFF president Nonong Araneta earlier said the National Training Centre located near the San Lazaro race track in Carmona, Cavite was tapped as a training ground for clubs.

“(The) PFL will cooperate with government directives under MECQ,” said PFL Commissioner Coco Torre.

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