The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has fine-tuned its health policies just one week into the new season, reaffirming its commitment to the league’s overall safety.
When the Philippine Cup started on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena, new and stronger health security procedures on team benches were implemented.
First and foremost, everyone on the bench, including the coaching staff, must wear a face mask while sitting and watching. Coaches who are delivering instructions may remove their mask from time to time, but they must replace it as soon as possible.
Face masks are only required for individuals who are off the court.
Teams that violate the protocol will be issued warnings, but if the warnings are ignored, they will be assessed a technical penalty for improper bench decorum.
On the bench, players are now assigned seats based on their jersey numbers in a pre-game arrangement provided to teams upon arrival at the stadium.
Personal items such as a towel, drink bottle, mask, and other game needs should be placed on the left side of the player’s seat, and heaters should be left on the seat until the player is called to substitute.
Players who have been subbed out can go to a “rest area” near the team bench where they can take a breather without wearing a mask. Players, on the other hand, must put their face masks back on when they return to their seats.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the new and tighter health protocols are part of the league’s ongoing commitment to improve player, coach, and other personnel safety as the season advances, as well as a tool for close contact tracing.
As it stands, four games have been rescheduled in compliance with the PBA’s existing health and safety protocols.
This Friday, Ginebra will face Blackwater at 3:00 PM, while NLEX will face San Miguel at 6:00 PM.