Basketball leagues held their breath to finally be active again. You are ready to keep it longer.
The Philippine Basketball Federation (PBA) is not particularly concerned about how long it could take for the interrupted season to resume after a board of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) recommended 5-on-5 basketball only to play when a vaccine was developed for the coronavirus and disease (COVID-19) that causes it.
"At the moment, it doesn't affect us very much, because we strive for our players to be able to train voluntarily under strict health measures," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial told the investigator on Friday.
The guidelines will most likely have a greater impact on the UAAP and the NCAA, as both university leagues open their season with the basketball tournament. Both leagues, which would have opened in the second half of this year, could be forced to change the schedules of their respective seasons or to postpone their opening until the next year.
However, an earlier investigation report said that the NCAA was already preparing for an opening in 2021.
The UAAP meanwhile said that its member schools are currently more concerned with resuming teaching.
UAAP: Classes first
"I think the reintroduction of face-to-face courses must be regulated before we can even talk about reintroducing sports," UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag told the investigator on Friday.
The PSC's Philippine Sports Institute for Medical Science and Sport (PSI-MSAS) published a framework on Thursday that could serve as guidelines for the resumption of sport. The framework, which was drawn up in coordination with the Ministry of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for emerging infectious diseases, deals with the question of how sport can be resumed under different quarantine restrictions.
Saguisag, however, admitted that the PSI-MSAS guidelines would be a valuable tool for the UAAP to continue planning for the new season.
"The UAAP has closely monitored developments at home and abroad and is preparing to begin season 83 under the" new normal "," said Saguisag. "Now we have the [PSC/PSI-MSAS] framework as an additional tool."
Organized team sports such as basketball and volleyball as well as combat contact sports are only permitted if the quarantine restrictions are lifted, a vaccine against the virus is developed and the World Health Organization and DOH explain the pandemic it contains.
These strict requirements, especially the development of the vaccine, determine the return of basketball at the earliest around 2021.
Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna announced on Thursday that the vaccine it is currently working on has been approved for a second round of clinical trials by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, scientists from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the University of Oxford were aiming to release their own vaccines in September. Health experts, however, said the most optimistic estimate of vaccine availability was in January 2021.
According to the guidelines recommended by PSI-MSAS, individual workouts can be carried out during a general quarantine in the community, but only with one person per court or educational institution. Workouts with personal interactions are only allowed during a modified general community quarantine. And even if the restrictions were lifted, the early stages of the new normal would at best require social distancing or, at worst, fanless stages.
"As I always say, we will always follow government guidelines," said Marcial. "But we will continue to hope that we can continue our season."
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