PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said Friday, May 14, that teams are expected to start their training sessions beginning next week in Batangas City, Ilocos Norte, as well as in Angeles City in Pampanga.
However, practices could only last for a week since the NCR-Plus would be under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting Saturday, May 15 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendations last Thursday of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
The league chief said that he already received requests from other teams to hold training sessions in Metro Manila. Marcial said the decision is still up to the various local government units (LGUs).
“It depends on the LGU, if they’ll allow. May ibang teams na humingi na ng recommendations kasi nga under GCQ na tayo (There are other teams that asked for recommendations since we’re now under GCQ),” said Marcial when contacted by Manila Bulletin.
Marcial said that teams would still start training in Batangas City, which is under GCQ and has agreed to host the scrimmages of players preparing for the PBA’s 46th Season.
A total of nine teams are likely to use the facilities in Batangas City, which has approved the use of Batangas City Coliseum, the Batangas State University Gym, and probably the Lyceum-Batangas Gym following a meeting between Marcial and Mayor Beverley Dimacuha last week.
TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco, on the other hand, are opting to go to Ilocos Norte for the resumption of training session, while the NLEX Road Warriors are said to be considering Angeles City in Pampanga.
“The teams already started their RT-PCR test. Meralco is good to start May 15, they’re actually good to go in Batangas City if they want, but I think sa Ilocos Norte sila,” said Marcial.
“So baka yung ibang teams (for the other teams) May 18 may mag-umpisa na sa ensayo sa Batangas City (they’ll start training in Batangas City). Baka one week then kung mapayagan sila ng LGU in Metro Manila… tignan natin (If in one week they’ll get an approval from LGU in Metro Manila… we’ll see).”
The league, as per Marcial, hopes to open on June 1, but that target date would depend on the success of the scrimmages of teams since players would be allowed to go back to their respective homes after training sessions.
Aside from the strict health protocols to be implemented at the training facilities, players and coaches are encouraged to maintain the guideline of home-venue-home setup to maintain the integrity and safety of all involved.
Meanwhile, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra said that he and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez have signed the supplemental of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO), which consist of a few revisions on its guidelines in sports resumption.
Last year, the IATF formed the tripartite government agencies of GAB, which handles professional sports, the PSC, which oversees the amateur sports, and the Department of Health (DOH) that formed the JAO guideline for sports activities in the country under the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the key revisions in the supplemental issue, according to Mitra, is allowing for instance the scrimmage of PBA teams under the GCQ, and no longer under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
“Me and chairman Butch Ramirez signed the supplemental already, and we gave it to (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque (III) for his signature and approval of the IATF. So it’s now up to the IATF,” said Mitra in an online press briefing.