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PBA scraps Oct. 10 deadline for player entry in Clark bubble

Player entry into the bubble mounted at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga has become a challenge for the PBA, with the resumption of its pandemic-delayed season fast approaching.

Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro admitted to that in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast, since there are still those who have yet to enter the former US military base.

“To be straightforward, ‘yung pagpasok ng players, very challenging,” the soft-spoken executive said in the weekly session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, MILO, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), with Upstream Media as webcast partner

“Kasi aside doon sa mga scheduled teams who will enter on a specific date, ito nga, may mga latecomers,” he added. “So the coordination and all, the testing, ito nga ‘yung waiting period. Siyempre lahat ng mga latecomers, they want to know right away ‘yung results nila for them to join practices — not just the players themselves, siyempre ‘yung coaches nito, managers nito. It’s understandable.”

Most of those latecomers have valid reasons, though, such as injury rehab. Meralco big man Raymond Almazan, for example, arrived just last Sunday after completing his rehab from a knee surgery.

The 6-foot-8 center was among those who entered the bubble on the same day along with Phoenix Super LPG forwards JC Intal and Jorey Napoles, both of whom have just recovered from injuries.

Among those who came in late are Blackwater rookie Maurice Shaw; and JR Quinahan, Jericho Cruz, Michael Miranda, Kenneth Ighalo, Anthony Semerad, and Mike Ayonayon of NLEX.

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Other expected arrivals this week include Barangay Ginebra stars LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar. The former underwent an appendectomy last week, while the latter is undergoing rehab from an old injury.

“Sila ‘yung I think the last two players that will enter,” believes Castro regarding Tenorio and Aguilar. “Because the group of NLEX entered yesterday; last Sunday naman, ‘yung Phoenix and Meralco.”

The league had initially set a deadline of Oct. 10, 11:59 p.m. for all players to enter the bubble environment. Failure to comply meant that they will not be allowed entry.

However, the Board of Governors has just approved a proposal to let go of the said deadline to give way for the latecomers, and entry would be allowed even if the compressed Philippine Cup is ongoing.

“The Board of Governors recently approved na wala munang deadline ngayon for all latecomers. Open na. Pwedeng may pumasok na players, or any member ng nasa 25-man lineup even if ongoing ‘yung league natin,” Castro said.

However, the league remains firm that re-entry into the bubble is not allowed. “Ang bawal lang talaga is bumalik. Once you get out, you cannot enter again,” Castro said.

Written By

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

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