CLARK FREEPORT–PBA commissioner Willie Marcial assured that officiating would not be compromised even with the temporary reduction of referees due to the Covid scare inside the bubble.
From 15, the referees are now down to seven after one of them tested positive in a swab test conducted on Monday, October 19 while seven others who were listed as his close contacts have been subjected to isolation.
The suspect case, who is asymptomatic, was brought early Wednesday to the quarantine facility in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo a confirmatory RT-PCR test and a strict 14-day quarantine.
His antigen test produced a negative result, raising the possibility of him being a “false positive” according to a joint statement made by the PBA, Clark Development Corp. and Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Wednesday night.
His contacts, who came out negative along with 20 other officials tested on the same day, will be re-tested on Saturday and will get back to work by Monday at the earliest if they yield negative results.
“Para sakin hindi maapektuhan ang officiating,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview on Thursday morning.
“Ang ginagawa lang namin is pini-pacing namin sila ngayon. Sana lang hindi sila mapagod. So, wala akong nakikitang ibang epekto.”
The PBA chief said he already called for reinforcement, deploying two of the five reserve officials for the Philippine Cup bubble. Both will go through the existing stringent health measures before and upon entering the bubble.
Meanwhile, the CDC and DOH granted the requests of Blackwater and Alaska to take another round of testing on Thursday as some players were concerned about having possible contact with the asymptomatic referee.
League officials, members of the media and a late arrival in LA Tenorio will also take another round of swab tests in Quest Hotel.