By JONAS TERRADO
PBA teams will still have to continue with their full practices and scrimmages outside of Metro Manila and provinces under the so-called “NCR Plus” after the stricter General Community Quarantine guidelines were extended until June 15.
Use of “indoor sports courts and venues” are still prohibited in areas under the “GCQ with restrictions” which prevents all 12 ballclubs from holding training sessions in their own facilities, at least for the next two weeks.
Whether that may affect the planned start of the 46th season on June 25 remains a question mark, but for now teams have to be content with having the luxury of having practices in areas under the normal GCQ or Modified General Community Quarantine.
The past week saw Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and Alaska train in Lipa City while Phoenix, Rain or Shine, NorthPort and Terrafirma have been practicing in Batangas City since receiving a go-signal from the PBA.
Blackwater moved its practices in Tagaytay City while NLEX was one of three teams which opted to go north, particularly in Pampanga.
Meralco and TNT, meanwhile, had just finished their two-week training bubble in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. It is still unknown if when and where both teams will resume their practices.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said these sessions may play a role in securing a government approval for the season to start under a closed-circuit setup instead of another bubble.
Full practices and scrimmages of PBA teams under the usual GCQ guidelines were permitted last month by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
The government lowered the restrictions from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine to GCQ under “heightened restrictions” last May 15, but Local Government Units in Metro Manila thumbed down the request of PBA teams, thus resulting in the staging of practices in the provinces.