IATF OKAYS PRO Leagues to TRAIN, PRACTICE Again; SEMI-PROS Must WAIT

PBA

For upwards of three months or so, the television programming in the Philippines, much like with the rest of the world, has been terribly limited on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Live-audience shows were no good because of mass-gathering prohibitions and social distancing protocols. The same applies to taped programming as well as TV series and films. And let us not forget the seasonal games of many professional sports leagues. With the year 2020 now at its midpoint, some efforts to normalize the conduct of game seasons have begun, although as it turns out, there will be a priority order.

The Philippine Star reports that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases has given the green light to allow several professional sporting leagues in the Philippines to once again hold game practices in a limited scale, ahead of a possible resumption of their postponed 2020 seasons. The decision was reached with support from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB). Thus, the sorely-missed Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Philippine Football League (PFL) can start to drill their teams.

On the other hand, this gradual resumption of sports activities applies only to the aforementioned leagues, which are fully professional in nature. While GAB head Abraham Mitra has extended the representation to semi-pro conferences like the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) and volleyball tilts the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and Premier Volleyball League (PVL), they have collectively said no. As a result, they would have to receive the go-ahead for practice resumption from another government agency. A third volleyball national sport association, Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas (LVSP) has joined six other NSAs of different sports in petitioning the IATF to green-light their own return to holding player practices and conditioning, along with a parallel request to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

With the continuing rise of new cases in COVID-19 within the country, a full continuation of sports activities in the Philippines, namely team games in stadiums and coliseums with audiences, is still far off in the future. The limited activity of practice, drills and training seems to be the best that athletes and their respective leagues can aim for. Seeing as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has only been moved to next year, the GAB-IATF backing is welcome news for Pinoy Olympians that may be concerned of losing their competitive edge from following quarantine. They include the Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 Basketball Team and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

Image: The Manila Times

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