PBA player tests positive for COVID-19 in Clark bubble

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2020 11:44 AM | Updated as of Oct 25 2020 01:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -- A PBA player has returned a positive test for COVID-19, the league announced on Sunday morning.

The player from Blackwater Elite was transferred to the Athletes Village in New Clark City at 5:00 a.m., according to Commissioner Willie Marcial. 

All of the player's close contacts have been identified and isolated -- including the rest of the Blackwater team, as well as their most recent opponent, TNT Tropang Giga. The player's roommate is isolated in a different room.

Because of this, the PBA Philippine Cup game between Blackwater and Rain or Shine on Sunday afternoon has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The "Clasico" match-up between Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok will push through at 6:45 p.m.

The player will undergo both an antigen test and a confirmatory RT-PCR test today, according to Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon. The result of the antigen test is expected within the day, and the RT-PCR test within 24 to 48 hours.

The player's positive result comes after the PBA tagged a referee as a suspected positive case last Wednesday. The game official has since tested negative both in an antigen test and an RT-PCR test, according to Dr. Jose Canlas, the league's medical consultant.

"I want to assure you that the protocols we gave to the referee will be the same ones we'll be doing to the player," Dizon said. "So the isolation, the testing will be actually the same and we will wait on the results of this."

Both Dizon and Marcial stressed that the league's bubble in Clark, Pampanga remains safe and secure, with no breaches.

"Rest assured po, ako po ang nagsasabi po sa inyo, safe po ang mga players dito, and'yan po lahat ang medical experts, 'wag kayong mag-alala," said Marcial.

"Rest assured, like what the Secretary said, it's working. The protocols are in place, in anticipation of incidents like this, and as proved by the first index case with the referee, he subsequently turned out negative," Canlas, for his part, said.

The league stressed that they were prepared for such a scenario with "several layers of protocols," based upon those put together by leagues that have successfully held tournaments in bubbles, such as the NBA and the NFL, according to Dizon.

The NBA did not report a single positive test during its season that was held at the Walt Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida.

The NFL, meanwhile, opted against a bubble concept