With the National Capital Region placed under a modified enhance community quarantine (MECQ) by President Rodrigo Duterte, conditioning practices and training sessions of teams in the Philippine Basketball Association will be delayed again.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that he is delaying the swab testing of players this week at the Makati Medical Center after hearing President Duterte’s decision to put Metro Manila from a general community quarantine (GCQ) to a MECQ from August 4 to 18 after COVID-19 cases breached the 100,000 mark on Sunday.
“We just can’t practice yet. I will delay or reset the testing. Let’s see how we can work that out,” Marcial said yesterday.
The PBA was scheduled to hold practices this week after the players' swab testing, giving hope that the stalled Season 45 could resume by October since the league's suspension last March 11 as part of its efforts of helping curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the setback, Marcial stays optimistic that they could still salvage Season 45 within the year. At the same time, Marcial explained the league also remains very supportive of the government’s decision.
“Kung sa tingin ng gobyerno na makakabuti ito bakit hindi? Sunod lang tayo,” Marcial said.
In an MECQ, the resumption of training even without scrimmages is not allowed under the joint administrative order formed by the Games and Amusement Board, Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Health.
So far, the development is a step back in the PBA’s bid to restart the league.
Only pro athletes can train individually in MECQ areas, while practices by more than two or three players are only allowed in the GCQ and MGCQ.
Marcial also said that by September, the league of governors will make a decision if Season 45 will resume or be cancelled depending on the situation of the country.
Aside from pro basketball, also affected by the MECQ status are football and combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
President Duterte made the decision after heeding the request of medical frontliners due to the rising cases of infected individuals in Metro Manila.
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