Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial was sounding ecstatic at the other end of the line. And the reason was not hard to find.
Before noon yesterday, the pro league's big boss received the most satisfying news in this bad times.
THE national government's Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease has given its approval to the PBA's request to conduct non-scrimmage workouts.
According to Marcial , Asia's first play-for-pay pro basketball league was informed by the IATF of its decision yesterday but has yet to receive the formal letter.
"Masaya tayo sa development na ito. We're still on track for our scheduled return," Marcial told People's Journal.
"I'm sure masaya din ang mga players sa balitang ito dahil sila mismo gusto na makalaro uli."
The PBA wrote the IATF last month seeking for its approval to conduct workout under strict health protocols to keep the players safe and prevent the possible contagion of the coronavirus.
The letter also states that only four players, one safety officer and a coach/trainer will be allowed every session.
The commissioner said he will immediately call a meeting with the league's 12 coaches and team managers as soon as he gets hold of the IATF's letter of approval.
Marcial said he will also call a board meeting to consult with the league's governors regarding other safety features that may be included in the protocol.
"Titingnan natin kung ano pa ang kulang."
*The government has also given the go-signal for the resumption of training in football on Friday.
In a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that IATF has cleared the resumption of activities in the two team sports, at least in practices.
"Pinayagan na po ang practice at yung conditioning ng basketball at football, sang ayon po sa request ng PBA at ng ibang football associations," said Roque.
Roque, curiously, made no mention of other team sports like volleyball.
He added that the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health drafted the guidelines for the training, both under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and under modified GCQ.
The PBA had sought IATF approval for a plan to have its 12 teams resume training in small groups under a 'bubble' environment. The protocols include regular testing and only a minimum number of people present during the practices.
The IATF approval raises hope that the PBA teams can return to practices in time for the holding of a single-conference season.
The decision will also allow clubs under the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) umbrella to go back to training ahead of the league's resumption.
Meantime, PBA chair Ricky Vargas of Talk N Text appreciated the decision of the IATF, although it hasn"t received yet a fornal communication consisting the government protocols ad conditions.
" We are very appreciative although I haven't received yet a formal communication consisting of thegoverment's protocols, but we are excited to seeing the protocols set up and the condition set up by the IATF to allow us to start practicing," said Vargas.
Vargas said he will most likley call a board meeting next week.