PBA play back with killer sked

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) – November 2, 2020 – 12:00am

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — With all 12 teams testing negative in the latest round of RT-PCR testing, the PBA resumes its Philippine Cup bubble after a temporary halt with an unprecedented quadruple-header tomorrow.

The pro league, after strengthening its health protocols, immediately sends eight squads back to the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G’s court, including long inactive Blackwater, to pick up from where they left off and engage in a virtual sprint to the finish line of the elims.

In the freezer since their last completed game on Oct. 22, the Elite (2-3) hit the hardwood again versus streaking San Miguel Beer (4-2) in a rare morning matchup at 10 a.m. followed by Phoenix (4-3) and Terrafirma (0-5) at 1 p.m., pacesetting TNT Tropang Giga (5-1) and NorthPort (1-4) at 4 p.m., and Barangay Ginebra (4-2) and Alaska (5-3) at 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday’s heavy slate kicks off a “killer schedule” for the rest of the elims with 30 games set over nine days and back-to-back assignments for some teams looming.

Four other quadruple headers are set Nov. 3, 6, 8 and 11 while equally rare triple-headers are scheduled on Nov. 5 and 9 beginning at 1 p.m. as the PBA fits everything in to finish the elims as originally scheduled on Nov. 11. Only two double-headers are tabled, the first on Nov. 7 and the other three days later.

The PBA was forced to tweak the single round-robin elims due to the earlier postponements brought about by “suspect cases” involving a referee and a Blackwater player. Both eventually tested negative in confirmatory antigen and swab tests.

Hostilities resume just as the third round of swab tests for the bubble participants came out clean.

“All players of the 12 participating teams have already tested negative in the latest round of RT-PCR tests,” the PBA said yesterday.

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