Sport

PBA plan gets good grades

PBA plan gets good grades

MANILA, Philippines — Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and Clark Development Corp. (CDC) board member Vince Dizon said the strict health protocols covering the designated hotel, facilities and venues in the planned PBA bubble, including the tournament site at Angeles University Foundation, should be enough for the PBA to earn the IATF nod.

“We believe that if the protocols are in place and we can assure we can do in a very safe manner similar to what the NBA is doing at Disney World, I think the IATF and the government will be open to it,” Dizon told Sports Page sports program on One Sports.

For Dizon, the deputy chief implementer of the national action plan against COVID-19, the PBA restart augurs well for a country that is trying to get back on its feet six months into the deadly pandemic.

“Our thrust is to gradually open up the economy. What better symbol of trying to get back to the new normal than restarting the most important pastime in the Philippines which is basketball,” said Dizon, who has arranged for the PBA delegates to get free testing at Clark.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the plan is to get all delegates inside the bubble by 11:59 p.m. of Oct. 8.

Prior to that, the pro league hopes to gain IATF clearance to start 5-on-5 scrimmages by Sept. 26, either in Metro Manila or in Clark.

Marcial said all squads should have finalized their 25-man bubble delegation, including 15 players plus an optional reserve, by today.

“Final lineup should be in by Sept. 23. It will be final as we won’t be allowing trades anymore for the season, the conference,” he said.

Meanwhile, Marcial yesterday said a player may opt out of the planned bubble as long as he has the blessing of his team, and will therefore be free from any sanction from the league.

So far, Larry Fonacier of NLEX is the only player who has opted out of the bubble, citing personal reasons for his decision. NLEX management has excused the veteran forward.

“If a player opts out and he and his team have come to terms, I’m okay with it,” said Marcial.

“But if there’s no agreement between them, it could become a legal matter,” he said in Filipino.

Fonacier informed NLEX management of his decision more than three weeks before the PBA’s targeted tipoff for the Philippine Cup on Oct 9.