PBA bubble template same setup for FIBA tilt

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) – December 21, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is following the template of the successful PBA bubble in staging the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in a similar setup in Clark.

SBP officials said the two-and-half month PBA Philippine Cup bubble presented them with a viable arrangement for the Feb. 18-22 qualifying window involving eight teams from two groups.

Like the PBA, the FIBA Asia bubble will use Quest Hotel inside the Freeport as billeting and the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G in Angeles City as training and competition venue.

The government’s stringent health and safety protocols will continue to guide the staging of the forthcoming bubble, they stressed.

“What interested the FIBA in this is really our success in the PBA bubble wherein health was really paramount,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“We really followed the IATF guidelines. FIBA has its own guidelines and I think the IATF and FIBA guidelines are being married so I’m sure it’s a very safe venue and that’s paramount to all the games,” he said.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said the facilities utilized in the PBA bubble will also be used, with very minor modifications.

“When FIBA asked us if we could host, they’re looking at the arrangement of the PBA bubble as is. So the understanding is we’ll host under the exact conditions and facilities of the PBA bubble,” he said.

“There will be little FIBA-oriented equipment that will be needed, like electronic scoreboard, but other than that, we’re not supposed to ply any other facilities outside of what PBA used in its bubble,” he added.

Barrios cited some minor changes at AUF, which should have a dedicated meeting room, changing room, viewing room for each of the eight squads. It should also be a one person per room at Quest, unlike the twin-sharing arrangement the PBA applied.

Panlilio added that PLDT and Smart’s facilities installed for the PBA bubble will remain in Clark.

“We’re keeping the same connectivity, the same PBA experience for the FIBA (qualifiers). Smart 5G will also be there,” he said.

Sec. Vince Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Clark Development Corp. assured an even stricter protocols and safer environment for the international bubble.

“We’ll work on this with Sec. Vince and his team. We’ll make sure at the very least, it’s (the same as the) PBA bubble experience but if we can improve everything, we’ll try,” said Panlilio.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial promised the league’s support for the endeavor, including inputs from its bubble experience and players for Gilas Pilipinas.

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