THE start of PBA players' workouts has been delayed by likely two weeks as all personalities involved still need to undergo mandatory swab testing for COVID-19.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the league wasn’t able to secure a schedule of the testing procedure until August 6 and 7 at the Makati Medical Center.
Testing centers at hospitals are currently in full capacity, according to Marcial, that there wasn’t an available slot for the PBA until the first week of August.
Going by the given dates, the PBA chief estimates practice may officially kick off by August 10 or 11.
“Yung swab testing within two days labas na ang resulta, so possible by (August) 10 pataas ang simula ng workouts,” he said.
Originally, all teams are to undergo testing at the San Miguel Corp. compound in Ortigas as the giant conglomerate firm has its own testing facility.
But test results may take some time before it can be released if all teams would undergo the procedure all at the same time.
“Baka kasi matagalan ang resulta ng tests kapag lahat ng teams nagsabay-sabay,” said Marcial.
The three teams under the SMC conglomerate – Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, and Magnolia – however will still be tested through the company’s facilities.
Swab testing is a part of the strict PBA health protocols approved by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases).
Marcial said no players would be allowed to join the workouts without undergoing COVID-19 testing.
Testing schedules have been immediately arranged after the PBA received the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) formalizing in papers the approval for pro sports in basketball, football, and boxing to start their respective players’ workout.
The JAO was prepared and signed by the GAB along with the Department of Health and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
The PBA eyed for workouts to start either July 20 or 22, but the JAO wasn't released until Monday (July 28)
Also undergoing COVID-19 tests are the PBA personnel formed by PBA Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro who will do the rounds of team training unannounced to check if players, coaches, and safety officers are all abiding the health protocols implemented by the league.
“May team nang na-form si Eric na lilibot sa mga team workouts,” said Marcial.