PBA: 14-day quarantine for players, coaches who will test positive for COVID-19, says Commissioner Marcial

Published August 17, 2020, 3:19 PM

by Tito Talao

Willie Marcial
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial (PBA Images)

Once the gavel comes down on the end of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Mega Manila today, the gate barrier immediately goes up for the return to practice of the Philippine Basketball Association.

Players, coaches and utility personnel of five of nine PBA ballclubs scheduled for nasal swabs on August 20 and 21 will make their way to the Makati Medical Center for the 9 a.m. to 12 noon window for COVID-19 RP-PCR testing.

The nine teams are from TNT KaTropa, Meralco, NLEX, Blackwater, Alaska, Phoenix, Rain or Shine, NorthPort and Columbian. San Miguel Corporation squads – Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia and San Miguel Beer – will undergo swab testing in the company’s own facility, with all the results collated and forwarded to the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City by weekend.

Citing confidentiality, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial declined to specifically name the five teams scheduled for Thursday at the MMC and the four others that will follow on Friday. But he confirmed the list has been finalized.

“Meron na pero huwag na lang natin ilabas,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin. “Basta once bumalik tayo sa GCQ (General Community Quarantine), tuloy na yan. And, hopefully, start na rin practice natin on August 25.”

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President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce either last night or early this morning whether Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, which was placed under MECQ status on Aug. 14 on the timeout appeal of medical and health workers, will remain on strict lockdown or back under GCQ.

The PBA, along with the pro football league, has been given the green light by the Inter-Agency Task Force to resume practice last month, the verbal sanction made official by a Joint Administrative Order signed by the Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Health last week.

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The 9 PBA teams were originally scheduled for swab testing at MMC on August 6 and 7 but the sudden MECQ imposition forced the reset for two weeks after.

A 100 percent negative result for all 12 teams is not a definitive requirement, according to the PBA.

“Pag me nag-positive na player or coach, 14-day quarantine siya as per protocol,” said Marcial. “Pero tuloy yung return to practice.”

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Training facilities, as chosen by the respective teams, will then be required to submit officially recognized certification that the venues have been disinfected to the highest health standards.

READ: PBA teams mull holding workouts in GCQ areas