THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) fine-tuned its health protocols just a week into the new season in reasserting its commitment on the safety of the entire league.
New and stricter health security measures on team benches were employed when action in the Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena resumed on Wednesday.
First and foremost, wearing of face mask while sitting and watching on the bench is strictly required, including the coaching staff. Coaches giving out instructions can remove their mask from time to time, but are required to put it back the soonest possible time.
Only those playing on court are exempted from wearing face masks.
Teams found violating the protocol will be given warnings, but would be charged with a corresponding technical foul on improper bench decorum when warnings are not heeded.
Seating arrangements on the bench are also now in effect, with players assigned their respective seats through their jersey numbers in a pre-game arrangement given to teams upon arrival on the venue.
Personal belongings of the players such as towel, water bottle, mask, and other game essentials should be placed on the left side of his seat, while warmers, once the player is called to substitute, should also be left on his seat.
For players who have been subbed out, they can proceed to a 'rest area' just beside the team bench where they can pause for a breather without a mask. Upon returning to their respective seats, players however, are required to wear back their face mask.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the new and stricter health protocols applied are part of the league's incessant effort to improve the safety of players, coaches, and other personnel as the season progresses as well as an aid for close contact tracing.
As it is, four games have so far been moved to another date in accordance with the current health and safety protocols of the PBA.