PBA preparing for gradual return, hopes to resume in September


Posted at May 18 2020 04:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is readying protocols for its return -- a gradual process that starts with clubs resuming their workouts.

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is hoping the league can resume by September if everything goes according to plan.

"Unti-unting balik sa normal ang plano ng gobyerno, at 'yun din naman ang tinitingnan ng PBA," Marcial said, as quoted by the league website.

"First is the set of guidelines for the return to practice. Under the general community quarantine, allowed na ang gathering ng small group, so baka naman pwede na rin mag-workout ang team ng four or five players per session," he added.

Marcial will require teams to disinfect their practice venues and equipment before returning, and all players must be tested for COVID-19 first.

"It's to make sure that we have a clean bubble, and we have to protect that bubble," said the commissioner.

All league activities were halted on March 11, just three days after the PBA officially opened its 45th season at the Araneta Coliseum. Only one game was played -- an All-Filipino Finals rematch between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia -- before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to virtually all sports in the country.

Marcial also ordered teams to stop holding practices in compliance with the enhanced community quarantine. He previously said that the Board of Governors will decide on the fate of the league's 45th season by August, with a shortened, one-conference campaign a possibility.

"If the situation improves, leading to the lifting of restrictions by August, then we can resume play in September," Marcial said.

Metro Manila remains under modified ECQ until May 31.

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