PBA star Japeth Aguilar, Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena and other top players are in hot water over videos posted on social media showing them playing 5-on-5 games and training with multiple people inside a gym while Metro Manila and most parts of the country are still under quarantine.
The videos posted on Instagram raised fear that the players, which also include PBA draftee Isaac Go, broke the government's quarantine rules at a time when team sports is still not allowed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The story was first reported by the Inquirer.
The most incriminating video, which was timestamped July 1, 2020 on Instagram, showed Ravena, Aguilar, and Go playing a five-a-side game with other still-to-be-identified players in an upscale Greenhills gym.
SPIN.ph has reached out to the parties involved to verify that the game took place after Metro Manila came under quarantine last March 15. We have yet to receive any response at posting time, although Ravena can already be seen wearing the same dyed hair he had when he announced his decision to play in Japan's pro league last week.
Aside from the five-a-side video, there were also similar videos on IG showing Ravena, Aguilar and Go training along with at least five other people inside the same gym as well as group photos of the players not practicing social distancing.
The PBA board has put together a plan to bring the teams back to training after being forced to suspend games and practices last March with just one game played in the 2020 season.
That plan, which was submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious Diseases for approval, doesn't even seek clearance for five-a-side games which the government has banned under quarantine rules.
Instead, the PBA only plans to ease teams into training in groups of four players under a controlled environment maintained by strict health protocols.
The PBA Commissioner's Office remains silent on the matter, but sources said league and team officials are already looking into the incident.
The league sent out a memorandum to all its member teams last March prohibiting practices and scrimmages in compliance with the IATF directive.
Aguilar is covered by that memo, the source added.