Back in July 16, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) held a modest opening ceremony for its 2021 season. Not only did the simple proceedings contribute to pandemic safety protocols, it made time for the inaugural three consecutive games in the elimination rounds of the Philippine Cup. The going has not been easy however. In July 21 some games were postponed after players of Talk N Text had to wait for COVID test results. The escalating new wave of infections in Metro Manila did not help, especially after it forced the league to suspend the season this past Wednesday, August 4.
But there may be hope according to CNN Philippines. The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 (IATF) has given the PBA the green light to resume their games, even as their usual venue within the NCR Plus bubble is once again under enhanced community quarantine status. The caveat is that the league will have to move their teams outside Metro Manila, and play their games in an area with less strict general community quarantine. This was laid out on the IATF Resolution 131 which was issued this past Thursday, August 5.
Said resolution came in response to the PBA proposing the change in venue to some GCQ area outside of the NCR, which also began its ECQ status Friday, August 6 and will last for two weeks. The country’s pro basketball league suggested Lipa City, Batangas as the alternative playing venue, as it is currently under GCQ even with some heightened restrictions. Resolution 131 however mandates the PBA to take steps and find ready locations under GCQ or modified GCQ status, should their alternate site – wherever it may be – happen to upgrade their quarantine to ECQ or MECQ. The league will hold its planned games in a semi-bubble environment, to separate but not isolate players, staff and officials for pandemic protection. Pampanga has also been put forth as an alternative location.
Image from Manila Bulletin