The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) welcomed the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Friday to allow gyms to operate at a limited capacity.
“It’s a sign that the country is getting close to reopening,” International Basketball Association commissioner Willy Martial was pleased with, telling the Inquirer later that afternoon.
If anything, the relaxation, which came under an IATF decision of June 10, indicates that the PBA is still on track for a late-June or early-July season opener.
12 teams of League members have been training without a hitch for nearly a month now. Nine teams participated in the PBA’s closed circuit scheme in Batangas City, while corporate brothers TNT, NLEX and Meralco set up bubble camps in the towns to the north.
With the IATF announcement, teams can now return to their original virtual courts in Metro Manila, with only group and pool practices given them, and their gyms securing the Safety Seal Certificates now required by the government.
That’s why Martial prefers to wait until June 15 before taking his next step.
We’ve long secured the task force’s signal for brawls. So it’s better to wait for a file [classification] Downgrading because that would be much easier for all of us.”
“What I am sure we intend to do soon, though, is to consult with [Games and Amusements Board], The [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Task Force for guidance for our new season,” he added.
Marcial bared last week that the PBA leadership is eyeing to stage the games at either Ynares Center in Antipolo City or the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Meanwhile, the Japanese B.League has yet to respond to the PBA’s letter addressing Kiefer Ravena’s contractual situation.
“We’ve reached out to the league’s president Shinji Shimada. Although we have not heard from him yet,” Marcial said. “I’ve already talked to Kiefer after Saturday’s press briefing, told him about the Board’s decision, and he said ‘OK po.’”
The Shiga Lakestars, in a surprise announcement last June 2, said that it has signed the NLEX playmaker as an Asian import for the upcoming B.League season.
Two days later, the PBA, through a hastily-arranged press briefing, officially thumbed down Ravena’s bid to play in Japan. Ravena has a live contract with NLEX until 2023. INQ
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