PBA eyes to start ‘closed circuit’ practices on May 18

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 7) – Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Willie Marcial bared on Friday that the league is eyeing May 18 as the start of teams' practices for Season 46.

Marcial made the announcement after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved on Friday the league’s request to hold scrimmages and team practice in general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine areas.

“The IATF approved the holding of practices and scrimmages, but we will talk with GAB (Games and Amusements Board) Chairman Baham Mitra about the specific protocols,” said Marcial.

Marcial revealed the training bubble in Batangas City will employ a closed-circuit format, where team members will follow a hotel-practice venue-hotel scheme while still adhering to strict health protocols.

The PBA Commissioner inspected on Friday the three training venues which are the Batangas State University Gym, Batangas City Coliseum, and Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas Gym. The Pontefino Hotel will serve as the teams’ residence.

Marcial added around five to seven PBA teams are interested to train in Batangas City. The three MVP Group teams – Talk N’ Text, Meralco, and NLEX – will practice in a place “up north,” Marcial said.

He emphasized that team players and personnel are required to undergo two tests, 10 days before the start of team practices.

“Swab testing is every 10 days. Seven days before practice and two days before practice,” Marcial said.

Marcial also said that tune-up games are not permitted in the training bubble, as a way to slowly assess if the scrimmages will be successful.

“We want to see if the scrimmages will be successful in complying to protocols before moving forward with other plans, including the actual start of the 46th season,” he said.

Marcial will also meet with Mitra to further polish the training bubble rules and health protocols, including the possibility of training in Metro Manila or Antipolo City, Rizal if the two places will be downgraded to GCQ by May 15.

The league is eyeing to open its 46th season in June.