By Waylon Galvez
Now that PBA teams have resumed practice, following the strict health guidelines setup by the government and keeping every individual negative from the coronavirus disease will determine if there would be a resumption of the league’s Philippine Cup.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao sees things this way as players were allowed to finally workout at training facilities for the first time since March 8 when games and team practice sessions were called off due to COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is the first step to going back to playing basketball under this ‘new normal’ circumstances. We’re glad that finally back even in small groups,” said Guiao when contacted by Tempo.
“We’ll see how this works, all the health protocols, the guidelines we have for players, trainers, coaches, medical personnel, we’re hoping for everyone’s safety – that’s the most important thing,” he added.
Meralco mentor Norman Black shares the same sentiments since players and all involved in the training will undergo swab testing again after 10 days, which is part of the protocol.
With players moving from their respective homes to the gym and back to their families, Black said he is hoping that everybody will practice the safety measures to reduce the risk.
“Of course we hoping for the best, that after 10 days, when all the players and coaches take another swab test, we get negative results,” said Black, whose team is holding morning and afternoon training Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.
The government, through the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Emerging Infectious Diseases, allowed the PBA and the Philippine Football League (PFL) – classified as professionals under the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) – to return to practice sessions.
The Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of GAB, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Health (DOH) formed the guideline for the PBA, PFL, and pro boxers.
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said players were excited, but at the same time ‘extra careful’ on the first day of training.
“Everyone seems excited going back to the gym and do some skill work and conditioning drills,” said Garcia, whose team held practice session at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluying City.
“We’re following protocols given to the teams, and we’re being really cautious cause we want the league to start.”
Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso said the next two weeks is like a test for everyone, which would be evaluated by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, the PBA board, and the government if practice sessions need to continue and elevate it to a bigger group, or cancel it.
“This is going to be important if we want to return (with the Philippine Cup). Hopefully everything will be OK, everybody is safe and healthy,” said Cariaso.