MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is exercising caution before giving the go-signal for players and coaches all over the country to return to the sport.
This, even after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) allowed practices for basketball and football to resume last July 3, despite community quarantine protocols still in place all over the country. Virtually all sporting activities have been halted since March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios is requesting basketball-loving Filipinos to wait, however, until they have a copy of the IATF's implementing guidelines.
"We always preach and practice compliance with government regulations. Importante 'yan at this time na pandemic," Barrios said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning.
"The line of SBP is better safe than sorry," he stressed.
Barrios said that once the IATF ruling came out, they received requests from regional directors of the SBP inquiring if they can resume programs or hold tournaments.
"Dito lang sa neighborhood ko, (nagtatanong), 'Sir pwede na ba?'" he added. "Importante 'yung specific implementing guidelines. Baka ma-mislead ang basketball-loving countrymen natin. Baka magsilaruan sila sa barangay court thinking na pwede na."
"Gusto nating siguraduhin na nasa tamang lugar tayo, dahil tayo ang masisita ng authorities na nagpasimuno nang pag-violate ng regulations," he added.
At the moment, the SBP has yet to receive an official copy of the IATF ruling or its guidelines. The organization's primary concern, according to Barrios, is the scope of the agency's permission.
The IATF had allowed the resumption of training and practices upon the request of the Philippine Basketball Association and the Philippine Football Federation. The SBP needs to know if the IATF's permission extends to all basketball leagues nationwide, or if it is specific to the PBA.
"Gusto naming makita 'yung official copy. Gusto naming malaman 'yung language," he explained. "Kasi kung halimbawa, ang language is specific lang na approved ang proposal ng PBA, hanggang doon lang 'yun -- PBA lang 'yun. 'Yung sinasabing grassroots, 'di kasama 'yun."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has said that the IATF's permission is "effective immediately," and that PBA players can return to practices as long as they follow the protocols provided by the league.
The rest of the country, however, will have to wait for the SBP's go-signal.
"Gusto naming gumawa ng advisory ng SBP, to be signed by president Al Panlilio. Nakabinbin, kasi 'di namin alam kng ano ang ilalagay namin until we see the copy of the official ruling," said Barrios.
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