No penalties for violators, but protocols will be imposed
High fives, fist bumps and hugs during games could be a rarity during the course of the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
That’s because the league is discouraging players from doing any physical interaction as part of the strict health protocols that will be observed once games start on Oct. 11.
“Pinagbabawal natin yung more physical contact apart from the game play,” Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementor of the National Action Plan against COVID and Bases Conversion and Development Authority chief, said in Tuesday’s press conference at Quest Hotel.
Dizon later clarified that these gestures aren’t strictly prohibited, though adding that having such protocols in place is something he hopes the players can eventually practice.
“It’s very difficult in the heat of the moment, in the excitement of the moment, mahirap talaga. But at least the players know natin na it’s discouraged,” Dizon said. “It’s like us in the new normal, in this pandemic, it’s like always thinking of not shaking hands and do an elbow bump instead.
“Nung una medyo mahirap, you know, muscle memory yun e ‘diba? Yung kakamayan mo yung tao. But I think ‘yun purpose natin na discouraged pero hopefully masanay din mga players natin,” added Dizon.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also said that there’s no reason for him to slap penalties on teams that won’t observe such acts.
“Sa una, pagsasabihan muna natin sila na iwasan, pero alam mo naman pag buzzer-beater siyempre maeexcite. Pero pipilitin natin na ‘wag nilang gawin so wala naman penalties pero ‘yun nga mga nasa protocols kaya susundin natin,” said Marcial.
The league is also requiring players to wear masks while sitting on the bench while they’re also banned from cleaning the ball using their jerseys.
All teams are accounted for at Quest Hotel, needing only a negative COVID-19 test before they can start holding 5-on-5 scrimmages at Angeles University Foundation.