MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) expressed their gratitude to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) for finally releasing the joint administrative order (JAO) that will allow professional athletes to resume their training amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
"Nagpapasalamat ako sa gobyerno dahil napayagan na tayo magsimula. Meron nang JAO. (I would like to thank the government because we are finally permitted to start. The JAO is finally here)," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said on Monday.
“We thank the Games and Amusements Board, chaired by Mr. Abraham Mitra, Philippine Sports Commission, led by Chairman William Ramirez, and the Department of Health, under Secretary Francisco Duque III, for signing the JAO which allows professional teams to train,” added PFF president Nonong Araneta, whose agency is managing the Philippines Football League (PFL).
“We look forward to the clubs to prepare for the PFL 2020 season,” Araneta said.
While the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the resumption of professional sports practices last month, the PBA, PFL, and even the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 teams remain stalled due to the absence of the JAO.
Now that the administrative order has finally been released, the clubs are cleared to get back into game shape in hopes of either resuming or starting their seasons as early as September.
"Hopefully, dire-direcho na tayo (Hopefully, we can move forward)," Marcial said.
The PFL already kickstarted its gear-up for the return to practice by having all its players and team staff undergo the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing.
PFF secretary general Ed Gastanes said in the July 16 edition of the Usapang Sports forum that all the 155 individuals who underwent testing are now cleared to return as they got negative results.
Before that, Stallion Laguna and Kaya Iloilo already announced that all their players and team staff have tested negative for Covid-19.
On the other hand, Marcial said that he will now order the PBA teams to undergo another Covid-19 testing within the week. They will have to be re-tested every 10 days. (PNA)