PBA players face sanctions for breaking rules of 'closed circuit'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2020 03:10 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2020 04:20 PM

The San Miguel Beermen in practice last January 2019. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Players found violating the protocols of the Philippine Basketball Association's "closed circuit" will be subject to fines, league commissioner Willie Marcial announced on Tuesday.

In his appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, Marcial explained some of the guidelines that they had given the players, coaches, and team managers ahead of the league's return to practice.

The PBA, as well as the Philippine Football Federation, received the go-signal from the government to resume practices last July 3, even though Metro Manila remains under the general community quarantine.

"Ang players -- bahay, sasakyan, gym," Marcial said of the limitations of the players' movement, which will hopefully prevent them from contacting COVID-19. 

"Kailangan huwag kang aalis. Kung lalabas ka doon, kung bibili ka sa supermarket, hindi mo naman maiiwasan, or bibili ka sa drug store, kailangan sabihin mo," he added.

Players have to make a log of all their daily activities, said Marcial, including who visits them at home. Those who are found violating this rule or lying about their daily activity will be fined P5,000 for the first offense.

"Tapos, dagdag ulit, 5 (thousand pesos), 10 (thousand pesos), 20 (thousand pesos), doble nang doble 'yun," he added.

Protocols are even stricter in practice, where only four players, one coach, and one safety officer is allowed. These persons have to put on masks once they step out of the court, said Marcial. Players who violate the league's practice protocols will be fined P20,000 for the first offense.

Even the safety officers themselves are not exempt.

"Sinabi ko sa mga players, magsumbong kayo sa akin, kung may violation ang safety officer," said Marcial. "So 'pag may nakita at napatunayan namin na may ano 'yung safety officer, 20,000 (pesos) ang first offense, tapos dagdag nang dagdag 'yun, 20 (thousand pesos), 40 (thousand pesos), 80 (thousand pesos), hanggang umabot ng 100 (thousand pesos), babalik ulit namin sa 20 (thousand pesos)."

Players who get exposed to COVID-19-positive people, but logged their activities properly, will undergo a three-day quarantine before being tested. They will then quarantine for another seven days. 

Marcial said he impressed upon the players the importance of discipline and of following their protocols, as the league hopes to resume its season that has been on hold since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Kailangan, disiplina talaga. Nasa players, nasa amin na kung papaano," he said.

"Sinabi ko rin sa mga players, hindi lang naman para sa inyo eh. Para sa kasama niyo, para sa pamilya na kasama niyo, para sa pamilya niyo," he added. "Magtulong-tulong na tayo."

"Sabi ko, kung saan kayo pumunta, may protocol ka naman eh. 'Pag hindi ka nagsabi, may protocol ka na, may fine ka pa sa amin."

PBA teams are expected to be tested for COVID-19 next week, with practices to start by July 22.

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