PBA bubble play gains IATF nod

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PBA bubble play gains IATF nod

Olmin Leyba

(The Philippine Star) – September 25, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Welcome to the PBA, new normal version.

After a long layoff, the pro league is set to resume play in its own bubble in Clark on Oct. 11 on the strength of a “provisional approval” from the IATF.

“I think it’s a milestone in sports. We waited so long, six months or more, and the PBA has put everything into this bubble,” PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said.

Bases Conversion and Development Corp. chief Vince Dizon presented the PBA’s Clark bubble plans to the task force, which approved the P65-million endeavor.

With the greenlight, the PBA looks to start creating the two-month Clark bubble next week.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said after undergoing swab tests Wednesday and Thursday, the teams will go on five-day home quarantine before leaving for Clark on Sept. 28 and 29.

Upon arrival, they will be swabbed again there and if they test negative, they’re cleared to start holding 5-on-5 scrimmages at Angeles University Foundation facilities.

Clark will be a safe hub for the PBA bubble, assured Dizon and Clark Development Corp. chief Noel Manankil.

“There will be very strict protocols for the bubble. All activities of the PBA – practices, scrimmages, and games, will be held inside the Clark PBA bubble,” said Dizon, also the country’s testing czar.

Manankil said there will be regular testing, initially set once a week, but may increase in frequency once the Department of Health allows other methods like antigen testing.

“So far, the IATF approval is for PCR (swab). We’re waiting for the final guidelines of the DOH on antigen testing; that’s one of the tests we’re looking at,” he said.

Vargas thanked Dizon, Manankil, Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra and other sports-loving government officials like Sen. Bong Go and Speaker Alan Cayetano for helping make this possible.