Jul 27, 2020

It's official: PBA teams can resume workouts

PBA teams can resume workouts with the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) now in effect.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham 'Baham' Mitra said that he and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque signed the JAO Friday last week.

The third signatory, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez signed the guidelines on the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and sports during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday morning.

"We are so happy and excited that finally, after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine," Mitra said.

"We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit, and hopefully when quarantine levels go down be allowed to eventually play," he added.

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PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said he is thankful to the government for understanding and finally opening the doors for PBA teams to return to training.

"Nagpapasalamat ako sa gobyerno dahil napayagan na tayo magsimula, meron ng JAO. Hopefully, dire-direcho na tayo," Marcial said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the request of the PBA to resume workout last month but activity remained on hold pending the signing of the JAO.

The latest development raises hope that the PBA could complete the Philippine Cup, shutdown by the global pandemic in early March.

Marcial said he will inform the teams of the good news and require them to undergo COVID-19 test within the week. He said training could start after the tests of all teams have been completed.

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PBA protocol limits teams to hold their workout in batches with the presence of a safety officer with medical training or background.

The guideline also requires players and team personnel to take COVID-19 tests 10 days apart.