PBA bubble protocols set
By Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario
PBA BUBBLE PROTOCOLS. NLEX Road warriors head Coach Yeng Guiao and players arrive on Tuesday (Sept. 29, 2020) at the Quest Hotel in Mimosa, Clark, Pampanga. This is in preparation for the PBA bubble game opening on Oct. 9. (Photo by Marna Dagumboy-del Rosario)
CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga (Philippines News Agency)– Officials of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) on Tuesday set bubble protocols for basketball players down to the hotel staff staying at the Quest Hotel here as a preventive measure amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a press conference, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer Vivencio Dizon, CDC President, and CEO Noel Manankil, and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the basketball players who arrived at the bubble area are subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as part of the strict health and safety protocols.
Dizon said even coaches and hotel staff, as well as the driver of each bus assigned per team, will also undergo pre-entry protocols, including swabbing and strict quarantine protocols pending the test results.
He said all players and coaches have their respective QR codes as they enter the bubble as a contact tracing protocol.
“Ang protocols pag may nag-positive not necessarily hihinto ang game ([Under] the protocols, if someone turns positive, the games would not be necessarily halted). It depends upon the situation,” he said.
“We also discourage players (from doing) fist bumps and high fives during the game as part of the safety protocols,” he said.
Only 10 players and three referees are allowed not to wear their face mask during the game.
Marcial said no family members are allowed during the semifinals and finals.
“Just like the NBA. Virtual ang nakikita (It can be seen virtual), and no family members are allowed at the semifinals and finals,” he said.
The opening of the PBA bubble game is on October 9. The Quest Hotel is exclusive to the PBA bubble for three months.
Doubleheaders will happen every day until the quarterfinals.
During the semifinals and the finals, games will be played on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Marcial also said players are allowed to leave in case of an emergency but can no longer go back to the bubble.
Prepared to respond
Dizon also said the BCDA is prepared should someone get infected by the Covid-19 during the PBA bubble.
He said protocols have been set if a player will contract Covid-19 during the bubble or when the result of the preliminary tests is released.
“That person will immediately be isolated and taken out of the bubble,” Dizon said.
Afterward, Dizon said, contact tracing will immediately follow, and a five-day window will take place among the Covid-19 patient’s close contacts.
“Napaka-importante ng contact tracing natin (Our contact tracing is very important) in the bubble,” he said.
However, Dizon believes a potential Covid-19 case will only have a little effect on the bubble.
“Not necessarily, hihinto ang practices at ang games ng buong bubble. Depende yan sa magiging resulta ng contact tracing (the practices and the games in the whole bubble will stop. It will depend on the result of contact tracing),” he said.
The PBA will resume action on Oct. 11 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Meanwhile, Manankil thanked the PBA for choosing Clark as its official location for the PBA bubble.
“We are very thankful to the PBA. This is the first step in trying to help locators boost the economy in this freeport area. It is also a test of the resiliency of Clark in handling the Covid pandemic,” he said.
Dizon also said the PBA event gives hope to Clark in holding sporting events.
As of press time, nine PBA teams have arrived at the Quest Hotel in Mimosa. (With reports of Ivan Stewart Saldajeno/PNA)