Plans still unclear as SBP awaits specific guidelines from gov't

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed practices for basketball and football, granting the request of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Philippine Football League (PFL).

But for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), before national team pools can return to their respective trainings, SBP executive director Renauld "Sonny" Barrios said that he needs to see the guidelines set by the government first to avoid any misunderstanding.

"The truth is right now, [it's a] very fluid situation," Barrios said on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum webcast on Tuesday.

"When news of the IATF ruling allowing practices or training within very limited parameters came out, I have been looking for a copy of the ruling and implementing guidelines from my friends, but I haven't gotten one yet."

According to General Community Quarantine guidelines, only five people (four players, one coach) may only be allowed in one practice session.

"It seems that there are no guidelines yet. It only tells me how fluid the situation is, because we cannot really plan concretely what to do without specific guidelines, especially from the authorities."

"We always preach and practice compliance with government regulations. Importante 'yan at this time na pandemic," he added. "The line of SBP is 'better safe than sorry.'"

According to FIBA's Return to Basketball guidelines, government regulation must be followed above anything else. If the FIBA's international calendar is to be followed, the Gilas Pilipinas Men's squad should be flying to South Korea and Thailand for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying games in November.

However, if international travel and contact sports are still banned by the Philippine government by that time, the SBP will have no choice but to follow the rules and not participate in the two games, said Barrios.

SBP director of operations Butch Antonio said TNT active consultant Mark Dickel remains as interim head coach of Gilas, until a permanent coach is hired by the end of the year. Moreover, who runs the program is still unknown, clarified Antonio.

"Right now, it's still on hold. I think, moving forward, [SBP president] Al Panlilio, together with Coach Tab [Baldwin]," told Antonio.

Aid during the pandemic

Due to the stoppage of play brought by the pandemic, the SBP gave aid to the referees and table officials under its grassroots program.

A total of P150,000 were given to each of the 16 regions which the federation oversees. Around 2,000 to 2,500 officials were given aid ranging from P1,000 to 3,000 or in-kind through grocery items.