THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to resume team workouts this week after months of inactivity because of the coronavirus pandemic. But even before the resumption of activities is to be made formal, the league is already preparing for its next move, particularly holding full contact scrimmages by September.

Following the revert to a more relaxed lockdown setup in the National Capital Region last week, the opportunity opened up for the PBA to finally set into motion its planned team workouts, the first phase in its push to resume its currently suspended season.

The team workouts will be done under strict health and safety protocols as directed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and other pertinent government agencies to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, which as of this writing has at least 187,000 confirmed cases in the country.

Included in the PBA’s return to training protocols are the players undergoing a series of swab testings; players are expected to abide by the “closed circuit” method that has them confining their travel as much as possible to home-to-practice facility and back; and during workouts, to be overseen by a designated health officer, players must observe proper distancing (only four players at a time) and hygiene.

Violations of the closed circuit method and during the workouts carry corresponding penalties.

The teams have already taken the swab test needed to participate in the workouts, targeted to start by Aug. 25, and are just waiting for the results.

For PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, they are happy to finally get the workouts going after hitting some delays previously.

The PBA is hoping that the workouts will eventually pave the way for the league to resume its 45th season in October.

The PBA chief said with workouts now a go, moves are being prepared to get their push to another gear.

Mr. Marcial said they will write the IATF to allow the teams to do scrimmages after the workouts.

The letter also contains a refined set of protocols that they would use as a guide.

But he recognizes that the granting of their request by the IATF all depends on how the coronavirus situation pans out in the coming weeks.

“Hopefully [the IATF] allows us [to do scrimmages]. But it all depends on where we are with the coronavirus,” Mr. Marcial was quoted as saying by the official PBA website.

“If the level of cases remains high the possibility of stricter quarantine levels will be high as well. But if the number steadies then maybe they will allow us to do full contact scrimmages. We’re crossing our fingers,” he added. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo