The National Basketball Association (NBA) has opened the doors for heavily regulated individual workouts for players. Major League Baseball has started to recall players to do the same. Baseball leagues in Asia have started league play without fans, a set up that is expected over the next few months.

With some professional leagues around the globe striving to get their programs back up and running, out very own sports clubs remain on hiatus following the modified enhanced community quarantine in place in Metro Manila and the general quarantine in nearby provinces. Pro leagues such as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), pro volleyball tourneys, and the collegiate varsity games are all suspended while the country is battling the covid 19 pandemic.

Do we expect Philippine sports to slowly get back to its feet over the next few weeks? I personally think it will and for good reason. As a sports loving country (with heavy emphasis on basketball), seeing our local tourneys back will be a very good healthy diversion from the pandemic we are currently facing. Even if these clubs play with no fan base in the stands, expect television and social media live feeds to be abuzz because sports offer a relaxing form of entertainment for us.

The big question of getting back from a long layoff can be answered with a structured, secure and phase by phase ramp with the health and safety of players and staff in mind. I believe the players, staff and game officials need to be tested and housed near practice and game venues to get things started. This can then be followed by a couple of weeks of individual player workouts to get them back in physical condition. The next phase is to get team workouts done and this could last another 2-3 weeks. A mini pre season inter team competition may likely follow.

The season proper should be a single round affair with no crowds or at the very least, fans seated two seats apart. Capitalise on live stream and television. Make it a short but quality driven tournament. In this format, teams need to make every game count so coaching and conditioning as well as team play and cohesion will be key.

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If I were the PBA, I would go for a single round eliminations and then take out the bottom 4 teams and then have an 8 team knockout quarters and 4 team knockout semis. The finals can be a best of 3 affair. Short and sweet. The PBA can even do 2 conferences with this kind of set up.

The UAAP and NCAA can also do with single round competitions just for this year or until a permanent cure is found to control the pandemic.

The MPBL need not travel teams across the Philippines and just simply assign a Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao single round affair. Top 2 teams from each region can do another single round quarterfinals that would lead to the knockout semis and the championship.

The covid 19 pandemic is forcing the globe to adapt to the environment and to consider safety and well being of all people. Sports is no exception. I am sure with a shorter but quality driven games, the crowds won’t be lost. We are, after all, a sports loving nation.

Board Games Anyone?

More on the modified quarantine currently happening across Luzon and parts of the country, how do we cure boredom at home? I know the internet creates a smorgasbord or entertainment that can keep one online for hours on end but it won’t hurt to revisit a few old board games that was once the past time in 80’s or earlier J
I love to play chess and this could be a wonderful past time even if you decide to do it online. Conventional chess, however, is proven to be a relaxing way to while time away. Even checkers require some strategy that can keep the mind abuzz.

Scrabble can be a great board game to bond with the family and so does the good ole snakes n ladders game. Monopoly is also a fun game to play if you want to teach your kids some business street smarts. I am sure your kids will find these games very entertaining (if you can pry them off their gadgets).

Parents, with work from home set up in place, make the most of extra time to sit down and play board games with your family with a cup of coffee on the side. It would be great to share to the younger generation a taste of what it’s like growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. It will come in handy when they grow up and start applying the mind exercises they’ve learned and adapt them in real life. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

(The writer is a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry managing Philippine countryside operations)

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