PBA bubble: Clark’s safety protocols draw praises from players
Players of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) shared positive feedback on the safety protocols upon arrival at Quest Hotel in Clark, Pampanga for the league’s bubble.
“Everything was handled smoothly naman. Nakakatuwa kasi we had our first experience talaga on how this bubble would look like. And perhaps with the management of Mimosa, of Quest Hotel, and of course, the PBA, maayos naman. Lahat nasunod. Lahat ng mga sinabi nila sa media were strictly followed: from sa pagbaba namin sa bus, sa gamit namin. Things are looking bright as the restart is about to begin so nakakatuwa naman,” NLEX Road Warriors’ Kiefer Ravena said in an interview with the online show “2OT.”
The 12 teams of PBA arrived in Clark by batches on September 28 and 29. The players and team staff were assessed by health workers at the clinical triage area, while their bags were disinfected. They were then required to scan the hotel’s QR code using the StaySafe.ph contact tracing application, before they were allowed entry to the hotel.
The bubble participants were subjected to RT-PCR tests, and were advised to stay in their respective rooms while they waited for the test results to ensure safety of all the teams.
“The rules and the protocols are set to be followed for a reason. You want to make sure that everybody, even their staff maintains proper hygiene, social distancing with face shield, face mask. Ito ‘yung bagay na ayaw mong maging careless kasi isang mali, baka matigil lahat. Mabuting nang safe para tuloy-tuloy ang balik ng liga,” Ravena added.
Magnolia Hotshots guard Paul Lee also had a positive feedback on the protocols despite the tedious process.
“Nakakatuwa kasi mini-make sure ng PBA na safe lahat ng papasok sa hotel. ‘Yun talaga kung gusto natin talagang matuloy itong conference na ito. Okay lang sakin kahit gaano katagal basta sumunod lang talaga tayo sa mga protocol,” Lee said in a separate interview with 2OT.
In a candid documentation of his first night at Quest Hotel, Lee mentioned how friendly and nice the hotel staff were, and commended the quality of food served to them.
“Quest Hotel, sobrang good job kayo,” Lee said in his video blog. Packed meals for the players are placed on tables outside each room to lessen contact.
Lee also shared his excitement to use the sports and recreation facilities of Quest Hotel which will be necessary to boost the morale of the players as they will be spending two months away from their families.
“Maganda ‘yung weights room nila and nakita ko yung swimming pool. Feeling ko magiging okay naman ang lahat.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Cariaso, head coach of Alaska Aces also praised the smooth entry and hotel accommodation in his tweet, “Safety protocols set upon arrival at Quest Hotel were very organized and efficient. Isolation time while we wait for our swab results.”
The PBA cup is the first sports event to be held in Clark after months of strict community quarantines and travel restrictions were imposed in the area due to COVID-19.
Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon underscored the importance of holding a successful and safe PBA bubble.
“This shows that we are ready to slowly but surely go back to the things that we used to do prior to COVID. As long as we do it safely, we will slowly but surely try to get some semblance of normalcy amidst the challenges that we face,” Dizon, concurrent deputy chief implementer of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19, said.
Clark Development Corporation President and CEO Noel Manankil, for his part, said that hosting the PBA bubble is the first step in reviving tourism in the Freeport.
“We all know that the most affected sector is really tourism so this is a first step into trying to help the tourism locators, especially in Clark, going towards a new normal for everybody. This will be a testament to the resiliency of Clark in handling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Manankil.