By JONAS TERRADO
PBA teams can hold 5-on-5 scrimmages in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces as part of the NCR Plus bubble starting Saturday, May 15, after the government downgraded regulations in the said areas to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to place NCR Plus back to GCQ until May 31, paving the way for PBA ballclubs to hold full practices in their own facilities.
The IATF had earlier approved the PBA’s request for teams to hold scrimmages in GCQ areas, provided that stricter health and safety protocols are in place.
But PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said teams will have to secure a clearance from the Local Government Units if they wish to have scrimmages in their regular practice facilities.
Practice venues of San Miguel Beer, TNT and NLEX are located in Quezon City, Barangay Ginebra, Phoenix, Meralco and NorthPort in Pasig City, Blackwater in Manila, Alaska and Rain or Shine in Mandaluyong City, Magnolia in San Juan and Terrafirma in Paranaque City.
“Gagawa sila ng letter na may endorsement ko para mabigay sa mga LGUs,” said Marcial.
The same permission is no longer needed in Batangas City since local officials gave the go-signal for teams to use any of the three available wooden courts inside the city.
Some teams are still exploring the option of holding practices in Batangas City while others like Meralco could opt for a training bubble in Ilocos Norte where regulations are currently under a less-restrictive Modified General Community Quarantine.
Meralco can start as early as today (May 15) since it has already undergone two swab testing procedures prescribed by the PBA.
Scrimmages could last for about a month, a timetable which the league hopes would be a successful one since it will determine whether the 46th season can push through next month.