On board in the bubble

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2020 - 12:00am

The PBA season restart will get underway at the Angeles University Foundation gym on Sunday with nearly every player accounted for in the Clark bubble. The deadline of checking in by tomorrow to be eligible to play has been waived to accommodate latecomers attending to personal matters but even with the indefinite extension, it appears that the PBA will register 100 percent attendance on reopening day.

Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio, who recently underwent a laparoscopy for an appendectomy procedure, reported for duty the other day. Teammate Japeth Aguilar was due to check in yesterday while Alaska’s Maverick Ahanmisi should be in on Sunday.  Each team had to submit a roster of a maximum 15 players by Sept. 25. Only those listed in the lineup will be permitted to enter the bubble and play. Once inside the bubble, they aren’t allowed to leave. If they exit, they won’t be able to re-enter.

Alaska, Ginebra, Blackwater, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, TerraFirma, TNT and San Miguel Beer turned in 15-man casts. Magnolia and Phoenix named 14 players each while NorthPort, 13. Magnolia did not include Marc Pingris and NorthPort left out Robert Bolick, still recovering from an ACL injury. Others who aren’t in the bubble are NLEX’ Larry Fonacier and Cyrus Baguio, Blackwater’s Carl Bryan Cruz and San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo. Phoenix excluded Jake Pascual, who’s also on the mend, and included Calvin Abueva whose eligibility is dependent on compliance with his reactivation conditions. Abueva is in the bubble and completing reactivation requirements through online sessions. Once he finishes the sessions and is certified fit to play, the PBA will act on his reactivation. GAB has cleared the way by reinstating his license.

Of the 128 veteran free agents in the list released to the PBA teams before the submission of rosters, only two were signed up – Louie Vigil by San Miguel Beer and Jayjay Alejandro by TNT. Vigil played for San Miguel last season then suited up for Alab in the ABL. Alejandro was in the list of unrestricted free agents with salaries along with Chris Javier, AC Soberano, James Sena and Chris Bitoon. Alejandro was the only player among the five to make it to a roster. Among the free agents left unsigned were Sol Mercado, Jeric Teng, Teytey Teodoro, Ronald Tubid, Chris Exciminiano, Noy Baclao and Carlo Lastimosa.

There are 24 rookies making their pro debuts in the bubble. Rain or Shine tops the freshman recruitment department with four – Adrian Wong, Prince Rivero, Vince Tolentino and Clint Doliguez. Alaska, Ginebra and TerraFirma are unveiling three each. The Aces signed up Barkley Ebona, Rey Publico and Jaycee Marcelino. Ginebra brought in Arvin Tolentino, Jerrick Balanza and Kent Salado. TerraFirma has Roosevelt Adams, Bon Batiller and Chris Balagasay. Other newcomers are Maurice Shaw and Richard Escoto of Blackwater, Aaron Black of Meralco, Sean Manganti and Renzo Subido of NorthPort, Mike Ayonayon and William McAloney of NLEX, Aris Dionisio of Magnolia, Kib Montalbo of TNT and Wendell Comboy and Daniel de Guzman of San Miguel Beer.

Switching teams were 21 veterans, namely Mike DiGregorio of Alaska, Frank Golla, Ron Dennison, JonJon Gabriel and Ed Daquiaog of Blackwater, LA Revilla and Kelly Nabong of NorthPort, Brian Heruela, Jay-R Reyes and Jansen Rios of Phoenix, Jackson Corpuz and Jessie Saitanan of Magnolia, Ryan Araña of Rain or Shine, Aldrech Ramos of TerraFirma, Simon Enciso, Poy Erram, Alejandro and Lervin Flores of TNT and Gelo Alolino, Bam Gamalinda and Russell Escoto of San Miguel Beer. Vigil, an unrestricted free agent, isn’t in this cast because his previous team was San Miguel so he didn’t switch.

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