Nine PBA teams are expected to begin practices in Batangas City on Thursday following a clarification from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that continues to prohibit the league's squads from practicing in Metro Manila.
Commissioner Willie Marcial on Wednesday said that even though the NCR Plus bubble has been reclassified into a lowered general community quarantine (GCQ) with "heightened restrictions" until May 30, teams are still disallowed from holding scrimmages within the nation's capital.
Under the new classification announced by Malacañang last May 13, indoor sports courts and venues are still barred from operating in the cluster of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna.
"The Task Force said no. That's what GAB said after we sought clarification from them," Marcial shared in Filipino. "But we're allowed to scrimmage in places outside the NCR Plus bubble as long as that area is under GCQ."
That haven is located in Batangas, where three gyms have been cleaned and disinfected by the city on Wednesday for all but three teams willing to travel down south. Only TNT, Meralco and NLEX will not practice there after pitching their respective camps in Laoag, Ilocos Norte and Clark.
Teams are expected to follow a closed-circuit format when traveling to Batangas City Coliseum, Batangas State University and the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas.
Marcial said the PBA will try to pivot back to Manila if quarantine measures ease once more on May 30.
"Maybe teams can practice closer to home by then. We'll take a look at that possibility. I'll follow-up with the IATF once that happens," he explained.