IN its first formal step towards the resumption of the season, the PBA will submit a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) asking for the resumption of practices by its 12 member teams but with strict protocols to prevent the contraction of COVID-19.
The letter was drafted following Wednesday’s board meeting where most of the governors were present at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City.
“We are putting a letter together addressed to the IATF co-chaired by Rep. (Karlo) Nograles and DOH secretary (Francisco) Duque,” said PBA chairman Ricky Vargas following the board meeting he presided on Wednesday.
Vargas said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial came up with the guidelines on how teams will practice while maintaining social distancing.
“The first step is how do we go back to practice. Nag-design si Comm. ng guidelines on how we can do it which is aligned towards the DOH when you talk about social distancing, disinfection, and all that for the safety of the players,” said Vargas.
Vargas said that even prior to the formal letter to be submitted, the PBA has already made representations to members of the IATF for the resumption of the 2020 season that was called off last March 11 due to the pandemic.
“The board has agreed to the minimum standard which is very much the protocol of the IATF and DOH. Anything more than that, the execution of that will be left with the various teams as long as it satisfied the minimum standard,” he added.
Among the guidelines crafted by Marcial is that all players will have to undergo a rapid test, a swab test, and another rapid test every 10 days before being allowed to practice.
Practice sessions of teams will be in batches that will only have six persons at a time – four players, one trainer, and one health officer that will check their temperatures. The persons will have to leave the premises immediately or five minutes after their practice session ends.
Hospital standards of disinfection procedures will also be done at the venue at the start of practices, according to Marcial.
Marcial described the procedures as stricter than the guidelines Fiba recently published in its Return to Basketball document that serves as guide for national federations for the resumption of the sport in the country.
“Nakita ko ‘yung protocols ng Fiba, lalo na sa game, mas may dagdag pa tayo. Mas strikto pa tayo sa Fiba sa game. Marami tayong guidelines. Katulad ng disinfection na ang pag-spray mo, kailangan hospital standard. Ang hospital standard, apat na spray ‘yun. May spray, may mist, may foam, may flooring tapos may testing pa tayo, alcohol. Lahat ng pag-iingat, gagawin natin,” said Marcial.
Vargas also said Marcial will be having a dialogue on June 23 with each team in a move to reach out to the players and to know their situation amidst the COVID-19.
“Willie will have a dialogue, a kumustahan session with representatives of each teams para we can reach out to them,” said Vargas.