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'Semi-bubble' a possible option for PBA teams to resume practices

PBA teams can go to a GCQ/MGCQ area if they want to return to practice. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--PBA teams eagerly await for the modified enhanced community quarantine period to end before they can return to practice.

However, they may opt not to wait further.

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra bared on Tuesday that PBA commissioner Willie Marcial offered the teams a chance to travel to a town already under the relaxed general community quarantine and train there in a bubble of sorts.

"As I know, si Comm. Willie, the consensus building and innovative person that he is, has already relayed to the team owners, 'Oh, mga kaibigan. Sinabi ni Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte) susunod tayo sa utos ng IATF, so hold muna tayo ngayon, pero kung gusto ninyo, doon kayo sa areas na pupwede," Mitra said during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.

Among the Luzon provinces which were initially announced to be under the regular GCQ for the first half of August on July 31, only Batangas retained its GCQ status when Duterte made the MECQ announcement on Sunday, making it a feasible location to hold what Mitra called a "semi-bubble."

According to the joint administrative order for sports practices, professional athletes can only resume training in areas under GCQ, although teams can only do so in small groups.

Mitra also said that PBA teams can also go to somewhere in Quezon Province, which is already under the most lenient quarantine, the MGCQ.

"Maraming All-Star Games ang naganap [doon]," he cited another factor that can entice the squads to put up their semi-bubble there, referring to the Quezon Convention Center in the province's capital of Lucena.

Mitra also cited Bataan and Zambales, also under MGCQ, as possible semi-bubble options.

Professional clubs can do scrimmages in MGCQ areas, and live matches are also allowed to take place there although in a closed door setting for now.

Marcial himself confirmed what Mitra said the day after, but the PBA chief added that the league will first need to have an agreement with the local government units of the teams' choice before the clubs can be cleared.

"I have to check their guidelines and protocol," Marcial said in the league's website.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_