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PSC pushes for return of national team training for Olympic qualifiers

Only Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 has been cleared to return to its Olympic qualifier training. Chooks-To-Go (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Philippine Sports Commission reiterated its push for the national athletes vying for spots to the Tokyo Olympics to return to training.

PSC OIC Mon Fernandez and national training director Marc Velasco raised the said concern during the PSC-GAB-DOH Stakeholders' Meeting on Thursday.

"We are working towards the approval of the training of our national athletes who have earned their slots in the Games. We are hoping it gets the go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) first," shared Fernandez in a statement on Saturday.

In the said gathering, which was led by the DOH and was also attended by GAB chairman Baham Mitra, sports leaders from DepEd, representatives from colleges, and from club leagues that are not part of the scope of the approved practice protocols last week, the Joint Administrative Order on the Conduct of Health-Enhancing Physical Activities and Sports during the COVID-19 Pandemic was discussed.

While the main focus of the meeting was on how the collegiate and the "semi-pro" leagues can map out their own practice protocols or adopt those of the PBA, PFL, and the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3, Fernandez and Velasco also bared the PSC's plans regarding the national athletes.

"The PSC discussed this with the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee). We still have to sit down with the PPC (Philippine Paralympic Committee). The POC will determine through their NSAs (national sports associations) who are coming for the Olympic slots and they will be the ones to return first or if possible, we can have them in a bubble," said Velasco.

Due to the approved Chooks 3x3 protocols, the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 team can now return to practice in preparation for the FIBA 3x3 OQT in Austria next year, so the POC is expecting the SBP nod.

The fact that some national athletes and coaches were tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week could factor in the IATF's final decision regarding the national team training.

Discussions are still ongoing regarding adjustments to the practice protocols, and the proposed tweaks will be submitted to the IATF.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_