By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
GAB chairman Abraham Mitra (File photo/PSA)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the resumption of non-professional sports leagues amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, paving the way for the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) to push through with their planned bubbles in Subic Bay.
Abraham “Baham” Mitra, the chairman of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the governing body on professional sports, confirmed the development on Monday.
“We thank the IATF for allowing the resumption of non-professional sports competitions in areas under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine),” Mitra said.
Like in pro leagues, de jure amateur competitions can only play in MGCQ areas under a bubble setup.
Initially, only professional sports events are allowed to take place amid the pandemic, prompting the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, the Premier Volleyball League, and the National Basketball League to turn pro.
Both the PSL and the MPBL had earlier expressed their intent to stay as amateur despite the persistent calls from GAB, which kept them from playing on.
But with the stand loosening a bit, Mitra hopes that other athletes who considers sports as their main source of income would be allowed to play as well even if they are not in the pros right now.
“We hope that all other leagues shall be given the same support and approval to help all Filipino athletes and their families sustain their livelihood during these trying times,” he added.
Mitra also urged all the sports leagues to adhere to the protocols set amid the pandemic.
“We would also like to call for solidarity and ask other sports leagues, whether professional or non-professional, to continually comply with the health and safety guidelines in order to avoid the possible transmission of Covid-19, as this fight is not only ours but of the entire sports community,” he said.
8-way PSL beach volley battle
With the IATF-EID approval, the PSL can now push through with its Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup this weekend.
Eight teams including two each from Sta. Lucia and Abanse Negrense will clash in the said event.
The clubs are divided into two pools.
One Sta. Lucia pair, consisting of Bang Pineda and Jonah Sabete, and one Abanse Negrense duo, consisting of Alexa Polidario and Erjan Magdato, were placed in Pool A together with the F2 team of Jenny Senares and Kyla Gallego and the Kennedy Solar Energy-PetroGazz squad of Ariane Alarcon and Christina Canares.
The other Sta. Lucia tandem of DM Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia and Abanse Negrense’s second team of Jennifer Casas and Gelimae Villanueva are in Pool B with United Auctioneers, consisting of Ella Viray and Theresa Ramas, and Toby’s Sports, made up of Jonah San Pedro and Javen Sabas.
The eight teams will play in a single round robin classification phase within their groups.
The teams will then play in the knockout crossover quarterfinals on Saturday with the winners advancing to the Sunday semifinals.
The championship match pitting the semifinal victors will also take place on Sunday. (PNA)