MANILA, Philippines - Teams of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) have to wait a while longer to resume training after President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and neighboring provinces under modified enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 4-18.
This was on the request of health workers amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. As of Saturday, the Philippines had a total of 126,885 reported cases, 57,559 of which are considered active.
The PBA initially hoped to start practices by Aug. 12. Instead, Commissioner Willie Marcial says training can resume after Aug. 20-21, when the teams are scheduled to undergo swab testing.
There is, however, another way for them to start training.
"Ang ginagawa ng ibang teams, kasi MECQ dito, 'yung mga GCQ (general community quarantine) na places like Batangas, they can play there," Marcial said in an interview with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News.
Aside from the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are also under MECQ.
Marcial said two teams have told him of their plans to train in provinces that are already under GCQ. According to the Joint Administrative Order that governs conduct of sports in the time of COVID-19, practices may be held in areas under GCQ, but only with a maximum of five players per session.
The commissioner stressed that if PBA players intend to practice in GCQ areas, they will have to follow the JAO as well as the protocols put together by the league, and get approval first from the Games and Amusements Board.
"Kailangan magpaalam mula sa GAB, then susundin 'yung protocols namin, and (have a) meeting with us," said Marcial, who added that teams also have to coordinate with the local government units.
"Kailangan pa sila magpa-swab, kailangan lahat ng mga protocols namin, disinfection. Everything," he stressed. "Kung anong protocols namin sa Manila, kailangan gawin din nila kung saan sila maglalaro."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).