With the entire Basilan-Jumbo Plastic squad quarantined for a week, changes were made in the schedule of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup.
Basilan and Davao Occidental-Cocolife were supposed to play the rubber match of their Southern Division finals series Wednesday but was then postponed after two Basilan players tested positive for COVID-19 while they were first quarantined.
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said two scenarios could happen for the remainder of the Subic bubble.
If all the swab tests of Basilan's players and officials return negative, the South finals decider will be played on March 17, with the national finals starting immediately the next day.
However, if even at least one swab test from the Basilan club comes back positive, Davao Occidental will claim the South title by default.
Duremdes added that the two players who earlier tested positive will not be allowed to play in the decider anymore.
"Ang ire-reswab na lang ay 'yung mga negative. 'Yung dalawang nag-positive out na talaga 'yun," the commissioner said.
Basilan is already without leading scorer and Gilas Pilipinas pool member Allyn Bulanadi, who is still recuperating from a dislocated right shoulder he sustained during the lead-up to the Manama, Bahrain, window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
San Juan grabbed the first ticket to the finals when Knights pounded 5-man Makati, 131-54, at the Subic Bay Gymnasium, Wednesday.
After getting delayed by a week, the league was forced to cramp the schedule as the best-of-5 Finals will be played on consecutive days, starting either on the March 17 or 18, with just a one-day breather after Game 2.
"Everyday siya ngayon, except pagdating ng Game 2, may break na isang araw bago mag Game 3," said Duremdes.
Meanwhile, the 5 players of the Makati Super Crunch that fell to the Knights received comforting words from Duremdes and MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao.
Duremdes approached Edwin Asoro, Mark Santamaria, Carlos Morales, Carlo Lloren, and David Carlos, who were huddled in a corner of the Subic Bay Gym reflecting on their blowout loss.
"Pacquiao watched the game and he was grateful for what you have done. Despite the odds, you fought with your heart out. He was thankful you finished the game and honored your commitment as a player and to the league. With what you did, you help keep the credibility of the MPBL," the MPBL commissioner said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES