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PBA teams to undergo COVID-19 test before resuming practice

PBA teams to undergo COVID-19 test before resuming practice

MANILA, Philippines – PBA teams will have to wait some more days before they can start sweating it out in small groups.

League Commissioner Willie Marcial told The STAR the squads are scheduled to undergo PCR (swab) testing on August 6 and 7 yet, forcing the PBA to adjust the target date of the sessions' kickoff to August 10 or 11.

The PBA initially targeted August 3 or 4 following Monday’s signing of the IATF’s Joint Administrative Order officially clearing the non-scrimmage training under strict health protocols.

“We wanted to schedule the tests this week but we’re told Makati Med’s testing facility is fully booked for the whole week. We got the August 6 and 7 booking for the teams,” Marcial told The STAR.

Nine of the ballclubs will be swabbed at Makati Med while the three teams under the San Miguel Corp. umbrella will be tested in the company’s own facility at about the same time.

“We’re still on track,” said Marcial, who hopes the non-scrimmage physical conditioning activities will run smoothly and be elevated to scrimmages by September and eventually to the resumption of play by early October.

“We’re upbeat we can come back,” he added.

Meanwhile, Marcial said Blackwater will have to join the rest in the scheduled PCR testing despite already getting swabbed last week as part of the league’s sanction for their “premature practice.”

“They have to get swabbed again (alongside the other teams) because by then, more than 14 days have already passed since their test,” he stated.

The league, through deputy commissioner Eric Castro, will attend a meeting with GAB and the DOH to discuss additional safety measures in the protocols approved by the IATF.

“Once we receive the updated protocols, we will call a meeting with the team managers so they will be guided accordingly,” said Marcial.