THE timeline of the PBA for the resumption of its long-mothballed season remains on schedule despite Metro Manila reverting to a moderate enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) by Tuesday.
Commissioner Willie Marcial admitted the start of teams’ individual workouts will have to be moved again as training by groups will not be allowed under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) outlined together by the Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).
The league already scheduled an August 6 to 7 date for nine teams to undergo swab testing at the Makati Medical Center, while the three teams under the San Miguel Corp. group were booked for an August 5 procedure at the SMC facility in Ortigas.
At the earliest, official start of workouts is being eyed either on August 12 or 14.
But all that have to be put on hold after President Duterte put the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining provinces under MECQ again due to the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The MECQ will be in effect from August 4 to 18.
“Kailangan nating sumunod kung ano ang sinabi ng gobyerno. Kaya adjust natin yung testing, adjust natin yung practices,” said Marcial on Monday.
“Kung sa ikabubuti ng lahat yan, bakit hindi,” he said.
While the delay again dampened a supposed September resumption of the league’s 45th season, Marcial still believes the playing calendar can still be saved.
“Ang sinasabi ko nga kahit sagad ang opening natin puwedeng second week of October,” said the PBA chief. “Kung September to October, kaya pang mag-practice.
‘Huwag lang akong hindi nagpa-practice by September.”
It’s the reason the board of governors will sit down by September to decide whether to resume or cancel the season outright.
Initially, the board was scheduled to decide on the fate of the season this August, but deferred the move by a month after the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) gave pro sports the go signal to start conducting team workouts last July.
As per the league’s timetable, Marcial said teams need at least a month for their individual workouts, while two or three weeks of team practices and scrimmages are good enough.
“Kailangan yun (practices) as team. Pero ang importante yung conditioning para maiwasan yung mga injuries (ng players),” the PBA commissioner said.
Marcial added he already had a feeling about NCR reverting to MECQ status when leading heads of the various groups of doctors and physicians aired their sentiment on Saturday about the country losing the war against COVID-19 unless stricter measures are enforced by the government.T
The PBA chief stressed it remains better to be safe than be sorry.