WHAT the future holds for the Philippine Basketball Association's 45th season will not be known until September when the league's commissioner and the members of the board of governors gather for a very important meeting.
Despite getting a favorable response from the government allowing the 12 teams to go back to the hardcourt for limited practices, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said the league pushed back by a month its decision-making meeting where they are expected to decide on the fate of the All-Filipino Conference, rudely interrupted by a coronavirus pandemic that's troubling the sporting world.
On Monday afternoon, the PBA, along with the Philippine Football League, have been allowed to resume training provided that strict health and safety protocols are observed diligently after the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of the Department of Health, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Games and Amusements Board was signed.
Marcial greeted the good news with great enthusiasm, hoping the development will be the start of something big for Asia's first cage league which has been mothballed for the last five months because of health concerns.
"The GAB has already told me the we can practice anytime now, but we will undergo swab testing first. I think after six to eight days starting today we can start practicing, "said Marcial.
"I am very thankful to the government for allowing us (to practice)."
The Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) last July 3 gave professional sports the green light to practice, but the PBA and other sports bodies had decided to wait for the formal signing of JAO guidelines before jumpstarting the training and conditioning.
“We’re still on track. Hopefully by September we’ll be allowed to do scrimmages already,” added Marcial.
As practices will get going in August, Marcial said he asked the board to reset to September the crucial gab, where it will decide whether to continue with the Philippine Cup or cancel the season altogether.
“We’ll just be starting practices in August so it will be wise if we move the meeting to September,” he explained.
“We’re thankful to the government for allowing us. Next step is to set up testing and after six or eight days, we’ll start practices,” said Marcial.
Marcial said the three San Miguel Corp. teams will undergo the mandatory tests at the SMC facility while the nine other squads will have theirs at the Makati Medical Center.
Besides pro basketball and football, other GAB-regulated sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, muay thai, among others, can now resume training provided that the provinces of the JAO are met.