GAB chief Mitra : Momentary delay of professional sports' resumption of training

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra, top, during Tuesday's PSA Forum webcast. (FB screenshot)

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra remains optimistic despite the delay of pro sports’ training resumption due to the recently-imposed Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) restrictions in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Mitra said the “waiting time” can be used to come up with more safety protocols for various leagues that were approved to resume practice, as well as those that are still looking for approvals.

So far, only basketball, football and boxing are allowed to conduct training under the Joint Administrative Order of GAB, Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Health.

But days after the JAO was finalized, President Duterte placed Mega Manila under MECQ due to the rapid rise of active coronavirus cases.

Among those affected were the resumption of PBA team practices.

“There may be some delays, but it’s still good enough to come up with more health standards na safe for our athletes,” he said in yesterday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast.

Only individual practices are allowed under MECQ based on the JAO, with practices only permitted in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified GCQ areas provided that safety protocols are observed.

The MECQ must be adhered to until at least Aug. 18.

During this time, Mitra said league officials would have a chance to work on their guidelines for future alternatives like holding tournaments in an isolated place like the NBA.

“This ‘bubble-type’ tournament must be planned meticulously kasi kailangan mo dyan ng coordination with the LGUs (local government units),” he said.

While other countries are slowly opening up to holding sporting events, Mitra said it is better to be safe than sorry.

“Watching the resumption of sports in other countries, siyempre gigil tayo to start. But we don’t want horror stories, that’s why we’re doing everything we can to keep the athletes safe,” he said.