PBA: Marcial hopes teams can begin practicing by next week

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2020 01:24 PM

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Teams of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) are set to undergo testing for the novel coronavirus once again, in the hopes that they can resume practices by next week.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial will coordinate with Barangay Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua, who offered the facilities at the San Miguel Corp. headquarters as the testing venue for the league.

"'Yung testing, mag-uusap pa kami ni governor Alfrancis Chua para kung kelan sila pwedeng i-test. Kasi, this week puno yata sila eh," Marcial said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.

"Baka by next week, ite-test kasi kailangan ma-test muna lahat bago kami nagsimula ng practice. Tina-target ko pa rin, July 22. Sana by July 22, na-test na, makapagsimula tayo ng practices natin," he added. 

Last July 3, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) gave the go-signal for professional basketball and football teams to resume practices, after the PBA and the Philippine Football Federation sought permission and submitted protocols.

Marcial has spent the past week discussing those guidelines with coaches and team managers as well as with the Board of Governors.

"Dapat maging ready sila," he said of the teams.

Practices will take place in each team's facility. NLEX, for instance, will continue to train at the FCL Sports Center in Xavierville, which they use exclusively. Coach Yeng Guiao has said they will implement even stricter protocols than the ones provided by the PBA.

Marcial will again write to the IATF in August, this time to ask permission for teams to hold scrimmages. Under current community quarantine guidelines, five-on-five basketball is still not allowed. The PBA's protocols for practices also bars scrimmages and tune-up games.

"Sa akin kasi, baka sa katapusan ng buwan, sana, baka MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), so ang laking bagay na sa atin 'yun na (pwedeng) mag-scrimmages," the commissioner said.

The PBA Board of Governors will decide in August whether to resume the league's 45th season, which has been on hold since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).