Some PBA teams mulling staying put in NCR following GCQ reclassification

Even though restrictions in the NCR Plus bubble have been downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ), PBA teams still need to clear another hurdle before being able to practice in Metro Manila.

Commissioner Willie Marcial on Friday said that teams will have to submit a letter to local government units (LGUs) asking permission to start working out in cities where their training venues are located.

As of posting, Marcial said "about four to six teams" have already sent PBA-endorsed requests to their respective LGUs.

"PBA teams can only begin practicing in Metro Manila once they get that clearance from LGUs," Marcial said in Filipino.

Malacañang on Thursday downgraded quarantine restrictions in the cluster of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna to GCQ "with heightened restrictions" from May 15 to 30.

Under the new classification, indoor sports courts and venues are still barred from operating.

"We're happy about the news that Metro Manila shifted to GCQ, although there are heightened restrictions," said Marcial. "That means cases are slowly decreasing. That's our only hope, anyway -- for COVID-19 cases to dwindle."

But the commissioner clarified that two other LGUs remain available for squads who want to begin their own buildup as soon as possible.

Up north, Ilocos Norte, Clark and Subic are opening their doors to Meralco, NLEX and TNT, with the Bolts deciding to push through with their training camp in Ilocos Norte. Team manager Paolo Trillo told ESPN5.com on Saturday that the team will be leaving for the northern province on Sunday at 10 a.m. for a 10-day camp.

The Road Warriors, meanwhile, have asked approval from the Quezon City government to resume their practices at the Epsilon Chi Gym in UP Diliman, but are also ready to bring their training to either Clark or Subic.

Down south, three venues have been prepared by the city of Batangas: the Batangas City Coliseum, Batangas State University and the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas.

Marcial said Rain or Shine, Blackwater, Phoenix, and Magnolia have already booked schedules in Batangas, while Barangay Ginebra is also mulling to commence practices there as well.

This article has been updated.