The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Friday gave the Philippine Basketball Association the green light to start its practice sessions and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas clearance to host the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Practices under a training bubble are set to begin in Batangas City by May 15 as member PBA teams get ready for the start of the 46th season.
Three gymnasiums emerged as possible practice facilities for the PBA, namely the Batangas Coliseum, Batangas State University and the Lyceum Philippines University-Batangas following talks by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial with Batangas City Mayor Beverly Dimacuha and Rep. Mario Victorio Marino.
“The training that will happen will now depend on the community quarantine level that the province will be placed into by May 15,” said Marcial, adding that the three facilities got the approval of the league following inspections done on them by the league’s technical officials.
Face-to-face practice activities will be possible in areas that are under a General Community Quarantine or in a Modified General Community Quarantine status.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque broke the news to the PBA on the decision a during a press briefing in Malacanang.
Meanwhile, the Philippines, following a three-month delay, has finally gotten the needed IATF clearance to host the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers from June 16 to 20 in a bubble environment in Clark, Pampanga.
“We’re looking forward to hosting our friends from Groups A, B and C and showing them the kind of hospitality that the Philippines is known for,” said SBP president Alfredo Panlilio.
The Philippines earlier withdrew from its hosting responsibility after the national government implemented travel restrictions due to the rising COVID-19 cases.
Doha was supposed to be the substitute host, but it cancelled as well after authorities ordered all public events halted when the country experienced a surge in virus cases.
The decision of the Qatari authorities brought the hosting rights back to the Philippines.
“The SBP has been working with FIBA, government agencies, and other partners to ensure a successful and, more importantly, a safe bubble,” added the SBP in a statement.
The Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia make up Group A, while Japan, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and China are in Group B. Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Guam are in Group C.