Philippine sports

FAST FACTS: Street hoops bound for return as NCR welcomes back contact sports

Delfin Dioquino
Metro Manila residents continue to enjoy more sports freedom under Alert Level 2

Contact sports are back in Metro Manila, but not without restrictions.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) released a set of guidelines for contact sports as residents in the National Capital Region continue to enjoy more freedom under Alert Level 2.

Jab for play

Under Alert Level 2, the IATF capped the maximum capacity for indoor venues at 50% for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if they are unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, 70% is the maximum capacity for outdoor venues.

But the MMC recommends stricter guidelines for contact sports as it sought the approval of the IATF for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Resolution No. 21-28.

Per MMDA Resolution No. 21-28, only fully vaccinated adults and minors shall be allowed to play or watch in organized or unorganized events.

The MMC defines fully vaccinated individuals as those who have received two doses of vaccines – one dose in the case of the Johnson & Johnson jab – two weeks before the contact sports event.

MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said the rationale behind the guideline is to “incentivize” vaccinated individuals.

However, anyone showing coronavirus symptoms – even fully vaccinated individuals – are prohibited from playing or watching games.

Mask on, mask off

As recommended by the MMC, players are not compelled to wear masks while playing.

It is only when players, for example in basketball or volleyball, get subbed out and sit on the bench that they are required to wear masks.

Spectators and other personnel need to wear masks as well.

Practicing social distancing for players on the bench, spectators, and other personnel is also encouraged.

Organized leagues vs pickup games

The MMC has a different set of guidelines for organized and unorganized contact sports events.

For organized events like barangay or commercial leagues, the organizers or the venue owners/operators must secure the necessary permits from the concerned local government units (LGUs).

If given the green light by the LGUs, organizers or venue owners/operators then have to collect health declaration forms from the participating players, spectators, and other personnel.

Administering temperature checks and verification of vaccination cards in venue entrances are also required by the MMC.

For pickup games on the streets or in public and private courts, which are considered unorganized events by the MMC, the supervision of barangay officials or venue owners/operators is required.

Abalos asked those planning to play in unorganized events to have the initiative to inform authorities and present to them the necessary requirements like vaccination cards.

“Let us self-police our ranks,” Abalos said. “Make it easy for everyone.” –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.