MANILA, Philippines — The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is keeping its guard up as Philippine sports continues to regain its footing amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Speaking during the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum, GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra reiterated the importance of practicing caution.
"We cannot relax… We must continue to stay safe, and we at GAB will make sure to remind them," Mitra said referring to professional leagues the agency oversees.
Most recently, the Philippine Basketball Association was able to hold its own season bubble in Clark City, Pampanga without any major snags.
Fellow basketball leagues National Basketball League, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, and football league Philippines Football League were also able to stage their respective events during the health crisis.
2021 will see more sports back, with volleyball, both indoor and beach, poised to make a comeback while the country's first-ever women's hoops pro league also plans to make its debut early next year.
Mitra said that coordination between his agency and representatives from the Philippine Sports Commission, and officials from the Department of Health continue to ensure safety for athletes and others involved in sports.
"There are supplemental guidelines coming out aside from the JAO (joint administrative order). But it was just an initial meeting. We will meet again," explained Mitra.
Currently in his third year as head honcho of GAB, Mitra sees the next year as a jumpstart to sports' new normal.
"Horseracing and cockfighting is back with no audience. Beach vollyball is coming back. We are very excited," said Mitra.
"We're looking at 2021 as a banner. Sabik at gigil na," he added.
"Just like the economy, we want Philippine sports to be back on its feet the soonest,"
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