Guiao: PBA must conduct rapid testing, create health protocols should play resume

NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao said the PBA has to go through monumental tasks if it aims to resume the season by June or July should the Philippine government decide to lift the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over the island of Luzon on April 30.

Once the lockdown ends, much of the country's daily occurrences will certainly change, including different industries including sports. Guiao said the PBA should institute protocols that are vital for the safety of everyone involved. He added that the PBA must conduct rapid and mass testing which should be administered by competent medical professionals.

"If our assumption is that we have to start counting down from May 1, how do we practice?" asked Guiao on the An Eternity of Basketball podcast.

"We have to follow a protocol. All teams must have one. But the backbone of all this, is testing. It should be testing that we could easily get the results. There's now testing, whose results will be known in less than 24 hours," said Guiao.

He suggested that only essential team personnel should be allowed in the practice facilities, and team doctors should be responsible for getting everyone's temperature, washing their hands, and disinfecting their shoes and apparel.

The team's equipment managers and their staff should also make sure every piece of equipment, such as basketballs and weights, must be thoroughly cleaned before and after practice, Guiao added.

If the league resumes operations and resorts to a two-conference format, Guiao said it should be a closed-door affair, with strict mass and rapid testing conducted on everyone inside the venue, including PBA staff and television personnel.

"There should be no audience, as all people must pass through a protocol established by the PBA, together with our doctors. The PBA should get in touch with an institution to do the testing, perhaps once or twice a week [during game days], or once a week during the practice process," said Guiao.

Even though the games won't be available for a live audience, people will certainly catch the action on television or via livestream using the internet.

Guiao, who had coached in a closed-door game before with Gilas Pilipinas, said that it will be an adjustment for all the teams, since players are used to playing in front of crowds.

"It will bring equal opportunity for both squads, but Ginebra will definitely be the underdogs. There won't be anyone cheering for them in the venues," Guiao joked.

When asked if he is open to playing in a smaller venue, Guiao responded that he and his players would be okay with it, as long as there's an opportunity to play again.

"Even though it's a small gym. it's already okay. The important thing is people can watch it live through livestream or TV. That will more than make up for their absence in the venue."