'Willing to play and practice': PBA players in favor of league's restart plan

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said players unanimously agreed to join practices once the Philippine government allows the league to resume training.

Marcial met with two player representatives from each team Tuesday to discuss the protocols set in place once the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) lets the PBA hold practices.

According to the commissioner, the "well-attended briefing" was met with optimistic responses from players. Among those who were present were San Miguel's Chris Ross, Magnolia's Marc Pingris, NLEX's Kiefer Ravena and TNT's Jayson Castro.

"Lumabas ako [after discussing], tapos pinatawag nila ulit ako after 30 minutes. Sabi nila, 'Commissioner, we're unanimous that we are willing to play and to practice anytime.' Paulit-ulit nila sinasabi 'yun. Nagpasalamat naman ako, sabi ko thank you very much sa mga nangyari, malaking bagay ito, magpapasalamat sigurado rito mga owners," he said.

Included in the protocols discussed by Marcial was the "bubble method."

"Closed-circuit method ang tawag namin. Kailangan bahay, sasakyan, practice -- kapag lumabas ka sa bubbles na 'yon o may pinuntahan ka o bibilhin ka o dumalaw sa'yo, kailangan sabihin mo sa safety office niyo para alam kung anong protocol ang gagawin, kung huwag muna magp-practice o kung ano man," he explained. The PBA is also set to hold another meeting once Marcial hears from the IATF on their decision on the league's request.

"Ang balita ko, pero 'di pa official, baka sa MGCQ (modified general community quarantine)," Marcial answered when asked when the IATF-EID would inform the PBA of its decision.

Regarding testing, the commissioner said some teams have not undergone testing yet as they await the IATF's mandate on the resumption of practices.

"Hinihintay din nila 'yung practice para hindi sayang. Kasi 'yung mga nagpa-test, kailangan magpa-test ulit bago mag-practice," he said.