Suspected positive case is 'wake-up call' to PBA, says commissioner

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2020 10:40 PM

 PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. PBA Media Bureau photo

MANILA, Philippines -- PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial on Wednesday night called on those inside the bubble in Clark, Pampanga to be even more vigilant and diligent in observing the protocols and guidelines of the league.

This, after a referee was tagged as a suspected positive case of COVID-19 and extracted from the bubble on Wednesday morning. The game official is currently quarantined at the Athletes' Village in New Clark City, and has already returned a negative result from an antigen test.

The league, together with the Clark Development Corporation and the Bases Conversion Development Authority, said this might be a case of a false positive.

"Sinasabi sa atin ng mga medical experts, katulad ni Dr. (Raul) Canlas, 'yung medical consultant natin sa PBA, na mukhang false positive," said Marcial.

"Kasi tinitingnan nila, nag-test 'yung more than 300-plus na delegates natin, lahat negative, siya lang 'yung positive," he added. The commissioner also said they are waiting for the result of an RT-PCR test to confirm the result of the antigen test.

Whether it is indeed a false positive or not, Marcial says the situation should remind everyone inside the bubble of the importance of following their guidelines. 

Aside from players, coaches, and team staff, league personnel and media are also housed at the Quest Hotel, comprising the 350-strong PBA delegation.

"Sinabi ko na sa mga players 'to, sinabi ko sa mga staff. Sinabi ko sa mga referees at sa mga table (officials) kanina. Wake-up call sa atin 'to, na 'wag tayong masyadong relaxed," Marcial said.

"Totoo nasa bubble tayo, pero ganoon pa rin. Kailangan sundin natin 'yung protocols," he added.

These protocols include wearing face masks and face shields, and frequent handwashing. Marcial says they will also be more strict in policing the get-togethers of players.

"So, 'yun nga, palagay ko wake-up call sa atin na talagang kailangan mag-ingat. Hindi porke't nasa bubble tayo, eh medyo relax-relax na tayo," he said. 

"Katulad pag kumakain tayo, medyo sama-sama. Ngayon talaga, ako na mismo nagpu-pulis para sa kanila," he added.

The gym and swimming pool in the Quest Hotel were shut down on Wednesday so they can be disinfected, but Marcial said they should be open again by Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Aces and the Blackwater Elite -- the teams whose game the referee apparently officiated -- will undergo testing on Thursday morning. Alaska guard Robbie Herndon has told ABS-CBN News that they hoped for a retest, for their "peace of mind."

Marcial assured that despite the situation, the PBA's schedule will not be changed. 

"Pinapayagan tayo ng CDC na maglaro. So, dire-diretso ang laro natin," he said. 

"Sana 'wag maraming na-apektuhan, pero diretso pa rin tayo. 'Yun nga, sana nga sa pinagdadasal natin, false positive siya," he added.