Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon assured that safety is of paramount importance, as the country will host the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers’ third window in February.
“We want to assure everybody that we’ll ensure the safety and health of everyone in the bubble. That’s the first and foremost objective,” the soft-spoken official said during Saturday’s virtual press conference.
The BCDA, together with Clark Development Corporation and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, is looking to build on the success of the PBA bubble, which concluded just last Dec. 9 with Ginebra emerging as champions.
“What interested FIBA to take a look at this bubble is really our success in the PBA bubble, where health was really paramount, not only for us, but especially for Secretary Vince,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.
“We really followed the IATF guidelines, and I think FIBA has its own. I think it’s being married with FIBA and IATF, so I’m sure it’s gonna be a very safe venue, and that is paramount for all the games that we are in very safe conditions.”
The PBA Bubble in Clark actually faced a COVID-19 scare while in the midst of the tilt that led to a days-long pause. Still, the league managed to buck such a tough situation and went on to finish the season without any more hiccups.
Dizon assured that the organizers will continue implementing the same strict protocols they applied that ensured the integrity of the first-ever bubble tournament in Philippine professional sports.
“In the middle of the bubble, the IATF instituted stricter protocols over and above the existing protocols that were initially approved, and I think that resulted in a stricter system in ensuring that we will not have the same problems.
“As a result, after those two instances, tuluy-tuloy nang walang naging problema, until the end of the PBA bubble in the early part of December. We will continue with those strict protocols,” he said.
Dizon added that there will be a designated facility within Clark for quarantine purposes for the FIBA games in the event someone tests positive.
“If we recall initially, we used the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City as a facility, but that was, of course, a common facility, because it was also being used by other groups such as the provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac,” he said.
“So we decided in November to have a dedicated facility in Clark, another hotel facility to serve as a quarantine and isolation facility. We will continue with that again for the future bubble in February.”