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PBA teams could practice in NCR again after June 15

PBA teams can pivot back to Metro Manila for their practices once the NCR Plus Bubble reverts to a more lenient general community quarantine (GCQ) for the second half of June.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said Friday that the league will not need to seek a letter anymore from the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or from any governing body if restrictions relax after June 15.

"The Task Force has allowed us to practice again in Metro Manila if the government shifts the quarantine to GCQ," Marcial told ESPN5.com. "We won't have to wait for a letter from anyone anymore. I'll just send a letter to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to formalize things."

Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday said that Malacañang could loosen the quarantine classification in the cluster of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal due to an improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the said areas.

"For Metro Manila, the numbers are looking good," he said in a virtual press briefing. "Based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at a de-escalation. It may not be MGCQ (modified GCQ), but it could be ordinary GCQ."

The NCR Plus Bubble was originally placed under GCQ "with restrictions" until June 15. Before that, the cluster was classified under GCQ "with heightened restrictions", preventing PBA teams from practicing closer to home once the league kickstarted scrimmages late May.

Nine teams continue to practice in three separate locations in the province of Batangas. TNT and Meralco are still camped in Laoag, while NLEX is still working out in Clark.

Marcial also said he will be reaching out to three government agencies to seek advice on the planned season tip-off. The commissioner early June said the PBA will try to host its season over at the Ynares Center in Antipolo or the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig starting late June or early July.

"By next week, I'll consult with the Games and Amusements Board, the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) and the IATF," he shared.