IT’S still up in the air but the possible return of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) may serve as a beacon of hope for the rest of Philippine sports that were likewise shelved due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PBA has already submitted a concrete plan to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, hoping to get a go-signal on operations return starting with the first phase of training and conditioning.
And that may be an inspiration not only for the first play-for-pay league in Asia but also to the other leagues and tournaments in the country still in indefinite hiatus amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“Iyan din tingin ko na kapag pinayagan ang PBA. Hindi lang basketball, baka lahat ng sports, dahan-dahan ng papayagan ‘yan,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.
“Malaking bagay talaga itong ginawa ng PBA. Kapag pinayagan tayo, dahan-dahan pati ibang sports, matutulungan natin.”
Guided by the protocols of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Games and Amusement Board (GAB), the PBA has ironed out a basketball restart program beginning with a practice first approach by small group every session.
Included in this program is practice and conditioning session by a six-man group (four players, one trainer, one health staff) and the disinfection of practice facility after every group.
Prior to that, all players and staff must also undergo COVID-19 swab testing.
Though nothing is cast in stone yet, Marcial likes the PBA’s chances of eventually returning as the quarantine measures in the country continue to be relaxed and with the inspiration brought by other leagues in the world.
“Maganda ‘yun. Kasi nakikita siguro nila na di lang NBA, Euroleague, football, baseball at ibang basketball leagues, malaking bagay sa amin’ ‘yun. Makakatulong’ yun para siguro makapagkumbinsi sa task force. Malaking tulong ‘yung mga ligang’ yun,” added Marcial.
The PBA along with other sports leagues in the country have been put on hold since last March.
Non-contact sports have already been given a go-signal to slowly resume in GCQ and MGCQ areas but group and contact sports such as basketball continue to be restricted as of the moment.