Ten days away from the start of the PBA games at Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, league officials stressed the need for players, officials, and even hotel staff to strictly observe health and safety protocols.
In a press conference Tuesday, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer VivencioDizon, Clark Development Corporation (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.
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, Dizon said.
He added that all players and coaches have their respective QR codes as they enter the bubble as a contact tracing protocol.
Depending on the situation, Dizon said that games will not be necessarily stopped if someone turns positive.
“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.
“Just like the NBA. It can be seen virtual, and no family members are allowed at the semi-finals and finals,” Marcialsaid.
He added that players are allowed to leave in case of an emergency but can no longer go back to the bubble.The Quest Hotel, where the players and officials are staying, is exclusive to the PBA bubble for three months.
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.*