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COVID case in bubble a wake-up call for PBA, says Willie Marcial

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is among those puzzled over how someone inside the bubble at the Clark Freeport Zone became a ‘probable case’ for COVID-19, given that all others tested negative. 

On Wednesday, the league announced that one of its referees possibly contracted the virus. The asymptomatic referee was tested last Oct. 19 along with 27 others, whose tests results all came out negative on Tuesday night.

An antigen test later in the day said otherwise, though. According to Marcial, it could be a ‘false positive’ case. The league now awaits the result of the ref’s RT-PCR test, hoping that it will yield negative results.

“‘Yun nga ‘yung pinagtatakhan namin. Kasi bago siya pumasok, dalawang negative na siya eh. Tapos after five days, ‘di ba may self-isolation, negative ulit siya,” said the third-year league chief in a press conference on Wednesday night, moments after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s win over Phoenix Super LPG in 2020 Philippine Cup action.

So hindi nga natin alam kung papaaano siya naging positive kasi lahat ng kasamahan niya dun sa 28 na kasabay niyang na-test, siya lang ang naging positive. Katulad nang sinabi ko, 300-plus ‘yung nag-test — lahat negative. Siya lang. So dun nga kami medyo nagtataka. Kahit ‘yung mga doktor nagtataka kung papaano nangyari ‘yon,” Marcial added.

But there is no changing what has happened. Now they have their fingers crossed that everything will turn out fine. For the amiable executive, he hopes that this will be a wake-up call for the entire league to stay vigilant.

“Sinabi ko na sa mga players ‘to, sa mga staff, sa mga referees, at sa mga table [officials] kanina: Wake-up call sa atin ‘to. Huwag tayo masyadong relaxed,” said Marcial. “Totoo naman, nasa bubble tayo, pero ganoon pa rin, kailangan sundin natin ang protocols — mask, shield, alcohol, linis ng katawan, ganun pa rin. So wake-up call sa’tin na talagang kailangan mag-ingat.

“Hindi porke’t nasa bubble tayo eh relax-relax na tayo. Katulad kapag kumakain tayo medyo sama-sama, pero ngayon, talagang ako na mismo nagpo-police para sa kanila.”

The PBA is currently in its 11th day in the bubble mounted at the former US military base. So far, games will be played as scheduled, and Marcial hopes nothing but the best moving forward.

“‘Wag lang — sana ‘wag na. Maraming naapektuhan. Sana,” said Marcial, while knocking on wood.

“Pinagdadasal natin na false positive siya.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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