3x3: Altamirano consults with NBA expert in crafting protocols for 'bubble'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 03:09 PM

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano. Handout

MANILA, Philippines -- Eric Altamirano is leaving no stone unturned when preparing the protocols that will be implemented by Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 in its return to action later this year.

The league, which was given pro status by the Games and Amusements Boards recently, plans to hold its new season by September. 

They were already set to resume practices, before the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces caused a delay. 

"Right after ma-lift ang MECQ, we will resume our testing and training," Altamirano said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday. 

Altamirano, the league's commissioner, explained that teams will be practicing in a centralized venue so that they can ensure the safety of all the players and staff. The tournaments will be held in what Altamirano called a "semi-bubble" at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, where teams will stay for four days and three nights.

In crafting the protocols that Chooks 3x3 will implement, Altamirano consulted with local health officials, including Dr. Anthony Leachon, the former special adviser to the government's national pandemic task force.

"More than that, I've been reading a lot and studying a lot about the other protocols na ginagawa sa ibang bansa, all over the world, whether that's basketball or football," he added. "It really helps na magkaroon ka ng ibang ideas."

Altamirano also bared that he has been in contact with an expert from the NBA, which is conducting its own season inside a bubble at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida.

"We've been communicating with a person -- I don't want to mention his name -- we've been communicating with somebody inside the NBA bubble," Altamirano said.

"So he's really in charge of the entire health protocol sa bubble. So nabibigyan kami ng mga advice kung paano namin gagawin itong bubble," he added.

The NBA resumed its season last July 31, and teams are in the midst of playing seeding games that will determine the match-ups for the playoffs. No player has tested positive for COVID-19 since the restart of the NBA season.

Altamirano assured that the league is ready with contingency plans should anyone within their bubble show symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever or difficulty of breathing. They have also tapped Butch Ong of University of the Philippines Science and Society Program to serve as their health officer.

"In anything that we do, there's always going to be risks, so we're not discounting the possibility na pwede pa rin na magkaroon ng mga cases," said Altamirano.

"Itong contingency plan namin, ang gumawa nito is Dr. Ong, who will be our league doctor. Nag-usap kami, and we came up ng kung anong dapat naming gawin," he assured.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, like the country's other professional leagues, is now just waiting for quarantine measures to ease before pushing through with their plans to start training. 

Metro Manila is under MECQ until August 18, after a rise of COVID-19 cases. 

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).