THE October 11 restart of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will likely go on as scheduled in the bubble in Clark City as the final batch of teams arrived in Pampanga Tuesday.
The some 350-member PBA entourage of the 12 ball clubs, league officials, technical staff, medical personnel, a TV crew, and sportswriters were all supposed to be swab tested when they enter the PBA Clark bubble. They will also undergo a Real-Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Test every two weeks as part of the strict protocols to be implemented in the bubble, likened to that of the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA.
Once results come out of the tests conducted, league commissioner Willie Marcial said they will be good to go as the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) is all set for both the training of players and the competition proper.
Scrimmages and 5-on-5 practices will be played before the resumption of the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup, which is expected to be completed in about 10 weeks.
All members of the PBA entourage will be housed at the Quest Hotel at Mimosa Plus leisure estate inside the Clark Freeport.
This is the very first time in the PBA's 45-year history that the league will be playing under a bubble concept that requires all teams' players and personnel to be housed in one place and they will be away from their families for over a month. This was also done in the ongoing NBA season that currently pits the Los Angeles Lakers against the Miami Heat in the finals.
Playing away from home, however, would be the toughest challenge, in the mental side, as most players already have their own families and the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is still very much around.
The PBA Clark bubble, however, wouldn't guarantee a Covid-19-free season although it is possible in the NBA whose league commissioner Adam Silver recently bared that no NBA player or staff was tested positive for Covid-19 while in the bubble.
However, some service workers at the Walt Disney World were tested positive for Covid-19.
There is indeed a great risk for everybody inside the PBA Clark bubble to be infected with the virus. That also goes for the service workers inside and outside the bubble. Let's just hope and pray that everything will go well for everyone involved and everybody will be safe and healthy.
PBA's attempt to somehow "normalize" sports amid the pandemic is a welcome respite from all the challenges Filipinos are facing each day. Watching daily double-headers during the elimination round is something sports fans can all look forward to and tri-weekly games in the postseason is not also that bad.