GAB says training of pro teams to 'proceed as scheduled'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2021 12:25 PM

GAB says training of pro teams to 'proceed as scheduled' 1
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters practice ahead of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup. File photo. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Professional sports teams who are holding their training sessions in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces can "proceed as scheduled," after the government on Sunday placed the National Capital Region and four nearby provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) with added restrictions.

Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal are now under stricter GCQ restrictions until April 4, amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. 

On Sunday, 7,757 new infections were reported. According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Metro Manila and the four provinces are essentially in a "bubble" for the next two weeks.

According to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), professional teams that are holding their non-contact training in GCQ areas can continue with their programs. 

Teams from the PBA and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) have already gotten the go-signal from GAB and the local government to begin small group training sessions in anticipation of their respective seasons. The strict protocols only allow for five players to train at a time.

"Based on our existing JAO (joint administrative order), health-enhancing activities and individual training are allowed in areas under GCQ," GAB chairman Baham Mitra told ABS-CBN News.

Last July 2020, GAB signed the JAO with the Department of Health and the Philippine Sports Commission to serve as the guidelines on sports activities during the time of the pandemic. 

"Meanwhile, scrimmage shall only be allowed in lower risk areas or MGCQ (modified general community quarantine)," Mitra added.

This means that some teams who have been training in areas like Laguna or Cavite will not be allowed to hold scrimmages now that they are under GCQ as well. 

Mass gatherings are prohibited in GQC areas while face-to-face meetings are "highly discouraged." Only essential travel in and out of the "bubble" is allowed.

"We will consult our health and safety experts and stakeholders as we really need to balance between the interest of our stakeholders who exerted so much efforts and spent resources to prepare for their training and the objective of our government to prevent the further transmission of multiple COPVID-19 variants," Mitra also said.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told ABS-CBN News on Sunday that they are still looking to open their 46th season in April. Meanwhile, the PVL intends to start its Open Conference in May in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.