The PBA got rocked on Wednesday when it learned that one of its referees might have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the first case ever reported inside the bubble at the Clark Freeport Zone.
That, of course, stirred concerns especially among the league’s fans, with most of them wondering how it could affect the whole season. Commissioner Willie Marcial, however, assured that the league is taking care of everything.
Coach Yeng Guiao isn’t panicking, either.
The NLEX chief bench tactician was among those batting for the former US military base as the league’s venue for the resumption of the pandemic-interrupted season. For him, Clark is a more than adequate hosting location.
He is certain, too, that the league will manage these cases well.
“I’ve always felt that CDC, sina Vince Dizon (BCDA chief), sina Noel Manankil (CDC chair), together with our Commissioner Willie Marcial, they’ve done a great job from the very beginning,” he said.
“The mere fact that we’re still going strong, the mere fact that right away they were able to act right away, they were able to mitigate the situation, is also a testimony to how well-managed this conference is.”
So he wasn’t worrying heading into the Road Warriors’ Philippine Cup clash with NorthPort, which took place hours after the reported case. The league said that games will go on as scheduled.
For Guiao, he understands that there isn’t a guarantee that the virus will not enter the bubble. But then again, he has faith with how the league and the authorities are handling the situation.
“Sa’kin, it wasn’t really a big issue. Because psychologically, I’m really prepared. Alam ko na mahirap talaga i-one hundred percent. Something might go wrong,” said the decorated mentor. “But the good thing about it is when something goes wrong, you’re still able to take control and still be able to run it professionally, just like what we’re doing.
“So sa’kin, I’m not really worried. I’m not really in a state of panic or whatever. These people know what they’re doing. They can handle the situation,” added the former Pampanga vice governor.
The league reported moments after the first game of Wednesday’s double-header — where NLEX won, 102-88, for its first win in the bubble — that the ref who tested may be a false positive case.
This, as the subject has yielded a negative result in its antigen test. But the league assured that the person will be put into isolation — the suspected case is at the Athlete’s Village in Capas, Tarlac.
All of the eight persons listed as the referees’ close contacts were also established and isolated within 12 hours. They will undergo another round of RT-PCR tests on Saturday, October 24.
For the outspoken mentor, he hopes that this particular case won’t tarnish the league’s management of the bubble.
“Wala naman talagang one hundred percent na guarantee. We really don’t know how it got here, where it came from. But so far, I have nothing but praises for how Clark, the BCDA, and the PBA itself have been conducting this tournament. I don’t think that’s something that should taint how professionally this bubble has been managed.”