PBA given go-signal by IATF to hold bubble in Clark

The PBA was granted provisional authority Thursday to stage five-on-five scrimmages and regular season games, paving the way for the bubble in Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles, Pampanga.

Scrimmages are set to start in late September, while the resumption of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup will start on Oct. 11, and is projected to end around the second week of December.

According to Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Pres. and CEO Vince Dizon, people should not be taken aback with the phrase "provisional."

"Currently, may joint administrative order ang [Games and Amusements Board] at [Dept. of Health]. Yung mga protocols natin sa JAO and sa PBA bubble, mas istrikto ang ating PBA protocols kaysa protocols sa JAO," expounded the country's testing czar in an online press conference.

"Kailangan lang amyendahin yung protocols na yun pero mas strict and mas stringent ang gagawin ng PBA," he added.

Currently, all 12 teams have either undergone or will be undergoing swab testing, and will be required to have a five-day home quarantine. Teams are given until Friday, Sept. 25, to submit their full rosters.

When no symptoms arise, they will then proceed to the Quest Hotel inside Mimosa Clark and get swabbed via RT-PCR test as well, added Dizon.

Everybody must stay in room quarantine for 24 hours before being allowed to resume basketball activities.

Meanwhile, Clark Development Corp. president Noel Manankil noted that all personnel, including hotel crew and security, bus drivers, and Angeles University Foundation gym personnel will also be subject to PBA protocol.

"Basta lahat ng papasok sa bubble, kasama ang support staff ng hotel, same protocol ng entry ng mga players natin. Maha-house rin sila sa loob ng bubble kagaya ng mga player," said Manankil.

Anybody who is caught violating the rules will be fined P100,000 and will be withheld a month's worth of salary. There will also be a five-game suspension waiting next season for players.

If a player gets injured or has to tend to any family emergency, they will not be allowed to return to the bubble.

Dizon noted that the molecular laboratory in Clark is capable of doing frequent testing, which PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said will be an antigen test.

If a team is eliminated, their members will be tested before being allowed to return home.

"Right now, within the bubble, once a week. Kapag nagkaroon na ng guidelines using other new tests, tulad ng antigen, pwede nating gawing mas frequent na," explained Dizon.

However, in the event that someone tests positive, Dizon noted that there are quarantine facilities available nearby, and if someone needs to be hospitalized, the expenses will be shouldered by the CDC and the BCDA.