Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) – October 26, 2020 – 12:00am

PBA, PFL face COVID-19 cases

MANILA, Philippines — Trouble in the bubble for the country’s professional leagues?

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Philippines Football League (PFL) both felt the threat of the Covid-19 as positive cases forced them to tweak their respective schedules.

The PBA, which is now on its third week of the Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, reported that a player from Blackwater yielded a positive result in the team’s latest swab test, a development that led to the postponement of the Elite’s Sunday afternoon game against Rain or Shine.

For its part, the PFL was hit with nine positive cases and decided to move yesterday’s supposed season kickoff at the PFF National Training Center to a still undetermined date.

In a statement, the PFL said five players and one coach from two clubs tested positive in their pre-bubble testing last Oct. 21, then further tests on three persons who were in contact with the six also returned positive.

The two leagues hope this would just be a minor bump in their road to a successful restart amid the pandemic.

According to the PBA, the concerned Blackwater cager was immediately extracted from the Clark hub for quarantine and further antigen and swab tests at the New Clark City Athletes Village in Capas, Tarlac.

Result of the antigen came out negative, and they hope it will be the same for the swab result expected by today.

The entire Blackwater team was also placed in isolation at the hotel rooms and scheduled for retests. The same applies to the squad they faced last Thursday, the TNT Tropang Giga, and other “close contacts.”

This happened just as the PBA bubble’s first suspect case, a referee, eventually tested negative in subsequent tests after initially yielding positive result.

The said game official will just need to finish the 10-day quarantine period before being fully cleared to return to the bubble.

“The first case proved to be negative. That is the most important,” said Bases Conversion and Development Authority chief Vince Dizon in a presscon with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and PBA medical consultant Dr. Raul Canlas.

They maintained the integrity of the bubble.

“There’s no reason to say that the bubble has been breached. The protocols have been followed,” said Dizon.

“Everything’s working. These incidents in a way are bound to happen. I want to assure everybody is safe inside the bubble. We’re constantly trying to improve our methods,” said Canlas.

Officials are hopeful the concerned player will be another case of “false positive” and eventually get cleared.

“We have to understand there’s no perfect test, that it can go wrong. What’s important is there are protocols in place to address situations like these,” said Dizon. – Ding Cervantes

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