GAB says resumption of practices to be delayed; PBA supports shift to MECQ

Games and Amusement Board chairman Abraham "Baham" Mitra said the resumption of professional sports training will be delayed after the government made a decision on Sunday to place Metro Manila under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18.

"At this juncture, we will implement the provisions of the GAB-PSC-DOH Joint Administrative Order; thus, when a particular area is under MECQ, only individual sports or physical activities shall be allowed (e.g. outdoor walk, jogging/running, biking, etc.)," Mitra said in an official statement on Monday.

"With regard to the resumption of PBA, Chooks-to-Go 3x3, and PFL's trainings, there will be a slight delay. But rest assured that the GAB will take advantage of this temporary halt to prepare our stakeholders in order to ensure the safe return of activities related to professional sports. "

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the league is throwing its full support behind the shift to MECQ, which will take effect immediately on Tuesday in Metro Manila, along with nearby provinces like Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

All 12 PBA teams, which were supposed to begin scheduling swab testing this week, will now have to wait a bit longer.

"Since sinabi na ng government, kung makakabuti sa lahat yan, bakit hindi? So adjust kami at ide-delay lang muna natin ang testing at ia-adjust natin ang practice (of teams)," Marcial told ESPN5.com on Monday.

Marcial admitted the pandemic remains a serious threat to people, reminding players to observe strict health and safety protocols as part of a united fight against the virus.

"Lahat naman tayo kinakabahan. Lahat naman tayo aligaga. Hindi lang naman PBA pero lahat ng tao so kailangan talaga ng disipilna ng tao. So kung ano ang sinasabing protocols. sundin natin," stressed Marcial. "And sinasabi ko din sa kanila, alam ko excited na sila mag-practice pero para na din sa proteksyon ng lahat na obserbahan (ang health procols) kasi di naman sa ginusto natin ito."

Marcial also said he isn't envious of the NBA's return, reassuring that everyone's health remains the top priority of the league.

"Di ka dapat mainggit dito kasi buhay ng tao ang nakataya dito. So wala ka dapat kainggitan. Wala ka dapat sisihin."

Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) moved the start of the Philippines Football League clubs' training sessions at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite to the third week of August.

"PFF exhorts everyone to observe best practices in combating COVID-19, cooperate with local and national authorities, and be safe and healthy during the on-going state of public health emergency in the country," the PFF said in an advisory on Monday.