PBA tightens protocols, requires masks at all times for team benches

Mask-wearing will now be required on all PBA benches, except when a coach needs to give instructions. PBA Media Group

Restressing its commitment to safety, the PBA finetuned its health protocols not even a week into its new season.

In particular, stricter measures on team benches were already employed when action in the Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig resumed Wednesday.

First and foremost, wearing of face masks for all on the bench is strictly required and only on-court players are exempted. Coaches giving out instructions may remove their face masks, but are required to put them back on at the soonest possible time.

Seating arrangements are now in effect as well, with players assigned their respective seats through their jersey numbers. Personal items such as face masks, towels, drink bottles, and other game essentials shall be placed to his left, while his warmers, once the player is called in to substitute, shall be left on his seat.

Players who have been subbed out, meanwhile, may proceed to a "rest area" just beside the team bench where they can pause for a breather mask-less. Upon returning to their respective seats, however, they are required to put their face masks back on.

Teams found violating protocols will first be given a warning, which if not heeded, will be grounds for assessing a technical foul for improper bench decorum.

Since the season opener last Friday, four games have already been rescheduled in accordance with the league's health protocols.