MANILA, Philippines — Pba teams will have to shake off the rust of a long layoff and prepare for the league’s targeted opening next month without the benefit of pre-season tune-up games.
Citing health and safety concerns, commissioner Willie Marcial said the PBA will likely follow the arrangement in the last Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, where the squads did their own scrimmages before plunging into action.
“As of now, I think it (tune-up games) are unlikely,” said Marcial, who’s looking to send the teams back to the gyms for their full-contact training by May 17.
“If we have tune-up games and let’s say one person tested positive, up to 50 people will be affected because training will be stopped and they will undergo quarantine and observation. So no tune-up for now,” he said.
Marcial stressed it would be safer for the teams to hold 5-on-5 practices by themselves in the run-up to the eyed opening mid-June.
“Let’s take it gradually. That’s what we did in Clark; teams didn’t play with one another (before the tournament). So for me, to be safe, let’s stick to the scrimmages for the time being,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has allowed the ballclubs to conduct scrimmages in general community quarantine and modified GCQ areas “subject to the Games and Amusement Board’s (GAB) vetting and proper health and safety protocols.”
Marcial met with GAB chairman Baham Mitra to discuss the guidelines that will govern the team training.
The pro league, on its own, has prepared stricter protocols for the sessions to be held in a closed-circuit scheme. Marcial said the PBA now requires two RT-PCR tests before teams are allowed to proceed with the practices with regular swab tests set in 10-day intervals.