AFTER a delay of two weeks, the Philippine Basketball Association takes the first step in a bid to go back to the hardcourt and save one conference in its pandemic-hit 45th season.
Asia's first pro cage league is pushing through with its immediate plans, in particular the swab tests for the members of the 12 ball clubs following the government's announcement of the return of National Capital Region to the less restricted general community quarantine.
Members of the three San Miguel Corp. teams - San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia Pambansang Manok - will undergo tests in SMC's own laboratory center while players and staff of the rest of the PBA teams will be tested at the Makati Medical Center on Aug. 20 and 21.
Teams can go on and start non-scrimmage training by batches once they get the result of the test and clearance that they're free from coronavirus.
"Pag walang problema ang resulta ng test, they're free to start their training. They would have the go-signal to do so but they have to follow our guidelines and protocols," said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
And everybody's hoping the situation gets better, with further easing of the region to a less strict quarantine making the prospect of PBA play resumption soon.
"Kung magtuloy-tuloy ang sitwasyon at makapag-scrimmage na ang mga teams, and then kung mapunta ang NCR sa MGCQ, pwede tayong matuloy sa October," said Marcial.
Pro play, particularly PBA and football, is allowed under MGCQ as stated in the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) signed by the Department of Health (DOH), the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
In preparation for the training return, the PBA has had previous scheduled swab testing that the league chieftain ordered reset following the health workers' request for "timeout" that was approved by President Duterte earlier this month. (SB)