FILE – Barangay Ginebra holds practice session at Upper Deck on February 19, 2020. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ joint administrative order (JAO) allowing a handful of sports, including professional basketball and football to formally return to training, has been released Monday afternoon.

“This order aims to provide guidance for the conduct of exercise, sports and other forms of health-enhancing physical activities as well as play-for-pay physical sports activities for the duration of the Covid-19 response,” read the order, which takes effect immediately.

The JAO was signed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health.

“We are so happy and excited that finally after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine,” said GAB chair Abraham Mitra in a statement.

“We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit and hopefully when quarantine levels go down, they may be allowed to eventually play,” he added.

The PBA initially eyed July 22 for its return to modified workouts, but encountered delays as the order, Mitra believed, was still undergoing examination by the DOH’s legal team.

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