By Tracy Cabrera
A GROWING list of injured players in the Philippine Basketball Association’s Philippine Cup, has prompted the PBA to ease its rules on injured players seeking medical attention.
Meanwhile, the league announced Wednesday that a referee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the PBA bubble in Clark City, Pampanga.
The referee is now under quarantine at the Athlete’s Village in Clark while those he had contact with are under strict isolation. The patient is asymptomatic and will be tested once again today while those who made contact with him, meanwhile, will be retested on Saturday, October 24.
In a statement, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial announced that the country’s premier league will allow players seeking medical attention to go outside the bubble—but only if they cannot be treated in Clark, Pampanga, where the PBA has resumed games under strict quarantine measures and minimum health safety protocols.
Marcial explained that injured players must first seek the advice of the league’s official medical expert, Dr. George Canlas, who will verify if the treatment could not be done at a nearby medical facility before they can leave and return with the approval of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC).
Marcial added that all players returning to the bubble must strictly follow testing protocols that have been approved by the PBA Board of Governors.
The PBA only allows players or staff members to leave the bubble for personal reasons or matters concerning injury. A previous guideline prevents anyone from returning once the person has exited the premises.
The number of injured players has been piling up since the season restart last October 11.
One of them is Alaska Ace shooting guard Kevin Racal who suffered a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee while San Miguel Beermen defense ace Terrence Romeo dislocated his right shoulder. The two are out of the bubble.
Other players who were injured in the first few games are TNT Tropang Giga rookie Kib Montalbo (plantar fasciitis) and his teammate RR Pogoy (sprained ankle), NLEX Road Warriors’ Jericho Cruz (sprained ankle), and Northport Batang Pier’s Kevin Ferrer (sore foot).