By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FOR THE FIRST TIME in a long while the Philippine Basketball Association Board of Governors met face to face to discuss safety protocols to be implemented as it prepares for a possible resumption of some league activities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Held at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City, on Wednesday, the league board convened and then approved the proposed protocols that would serve as guide for the league as it angles to ease its way back now that Metro Manila is under a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) setting.
The PBA was set to send a letter accompanying the protocols to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the agency tasked to lead the response against COVID-19 in the country, for consideration, hoping that the league would be allowed to have its member teams at least conduct practices.
Despite the National Capital Region now under GCQ, sports-related mass gatherings are still not allowed.
“Hopefully the IATF would give us a chance to at least have team practices for now,” said the PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial after the board meeting.
As per the proposal, the league looks to start having practices in July under strict monitoring to ensure the safety of all participants.
During practices, only six people, including four players, are allowed per practice session. Temperatures of players will have to be taken before the practice, while sanitizers and alcohols will be put in strategic places for use by the teams. Practice facilities will also have to be disinfected before and after use.
Mr. Marcial underscored that no scrimmages would take place, only conditioning for players.
Players and staff members are also prohibited from taking showers after the workout.
Mr. Marcial also said the league is going to be strict in enforcing the “no test, no practice” policy, meaning players have to be tested for COVID-19 first for them to be allowed to participate in the practices.
Recently, players of teams San Miguel Corp. — San Miguel Beermen, Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings — were tested for COVID-19, and all were negative of the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas of the TNT KaTropa, who was present in the board meeting, shared that they are optimistic that they will finally be able to squeeze in some activities that would eventually pave the way for the resumption of league action.
“Everyone is upbeat. The situation is uncertain. It’s something we’re not in control of. But as we follow the improvement of the situation from ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) to MECQ (modified ECQ) to GCQ and with the businesses starting to reopen, it gives you hope,” said Mr. Vargas.
“One step at a time,” he added.
In another development, the PBA Board approved the transfer of the Columbian Dyip franchise from Columbian Autocar Corporation to sister company Terra Firma Development Corporation.
Team governor Bobby Formales made the formal request on behalf of owner and Palawan governor Jose Alvarez.
The board approved the move pending the fulfilment of certain requirements.
Mr. Rosales said despite the transfer of franchise, the team is inclined to retain its “Dyip” moniker.