PBA teams allowed to practice in Batangas City starting mid-May

The PBA took a huge step towards kickstarting the 2021 season after Batangas agreed to host team practices starting mid-May.

Commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed the development Sunday, a day after league officials wrapped up discussions with Batangas City Mayor Beverly Dimacuha and Fifth District Rep. Marvey Mariño.

"We'll meet soon to discuss the protocols and our team will go and inspect the locations this week. We've also coordinated with (Games and Amusements Board) chairman Baham Mitra regarding our plans," shared Marcial in Filipino.

"Now, we'll only need a Joint Administrative Order [from GAB, the Department of Health, and the Philippine Sports Commission] and once the gyms are cleared, teams can start practicing next, next week," he added

The Batangas City Coliseum and Batangas State University are being eyed as practice venues. Adding a third location in the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas is being discussed as well.

As Batangas City remains under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), May 15 is the earliest teams can train there.

"We'll have to wait for Batangas to go into Modified GCQ (MGCQ) so that teams can begin scrimmages. We'll also wait and see if the IATF grants us an exception and allows us to practice before MGCQ," he said.

Clubs will follow a closed-circuit setup in traveling to and from Manila and Batangas.

Marcial clarified that there are no discussions about holding actual PBA games in Batangas City. So far, only Ilocos Norte and Antipolo have expressed willingness to host games for the 2021 season.

"I haven't talked to them about that. We only discussed practices," he said.