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PBA teams still barred from practicing in NCR

PBA teams are still barred from practicing closer to home after the Philippine government placed Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) "with some restrictions" from June 16 to 30.

Commissioner Willie Marcial on Tuesday said that teams will continue practicing up north and in the province of Batangas due to the recent announcement.

"Yes, we can't practice in Manila. Only non-contact sports are allowed," he briefly explained.

There was initially hope that all 12 teams could return to Manila in the second half of June after some comments by Malacañang indicated that restrictions could be lowered to "ordinary GCQ".

Under the said classification, all squads could hold scrimmages in their respective practice venues without having to seek a letter of approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or from any local government unit.

"For Metro Manila, the numbers are looking good," Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said last Thursday 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 Palace, however, decided to go another way by placing a few more restrictions. Under the said classification, only outdoor non-contact sports are allowed, and gyms can operate only at 20 percent, though this may be increased to 30 percent if the said gym has a safety seal.

Ten teams are currently practicing in three separate areas in Batangas. TNT is still camped in Ilocos Norte, while NLEX continues to work out in Pampanga.

Marcial, however, said the league is still "on target as of now" with regards to a possible 46th Season opening late June or early July either at the Ynares Center in Antipolo or the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.