Medical exemptions get PBA nod
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday players who require medical attention not available in the New Clark City may leave the bubble and return for as long as they’re cleared by oversight committee chairman Dr. Jose Raul Canlas with compliance of health/safety protocols imposed by the Clark Development Corp. and IATF.

Marcial clarified that the exemption will apply only for medical and not personal reasons. It was previously announced that once inside the Clark bubble, there will be no re-entry for those who leave. So far, two players have left the bubble for medical treatment but aren’t expected to come back. San Miguel Beer’s Terrence Romeo suffered a separated shoulder while Alaska’s Kevin Racal went down with an ACL tear and is scheduled for surgery today.

Another player reportedly inquired about the possibility of leaving for medical treatment and returning to the bubble but no request has been made for clearance from Dr. Canlas. The first order is for Dr. Canlas to determine the nature of the injury or affliction then it will be checked if treatment is available in Clark. If treatment is not available, clearance may be given to leave. Upon re-entry, a swab test will be taken with mandatory quarantine required. Depending on the treatment, a player may be out of action for about two weeks before he is given the go-signal for reactivation. Without schedule adjustments, the eliminations are set to end on Nov. 11 so anyone leaving the bubble for medical reasons now may not make it back until the playoffs.

Marcial said the PBA’s priority is to keep everyone safe in the bubble. The inconclusive testing of a referee and a Blackwater player caused some alarm but the subsequent negative reading of their antigen and swab tests proved the bubble is unbreached. The referee and player remain in isolation at the Clark Athletes Village until their mandatory quarantine period is over. Marcial said they’ll be back in circulation in a few days. Even if they’ve turned out negative after confirmatory antigen and swab tests, protocols require quarantine. Marcial has kept in constant touch with the referee and player, boosting their morale and even sending over lechon kawali, adobo and biscuits. TNT and Alaska, the two teams that Blackwater played since the inconclusive testing, underwent swab tests last week and everyone tested negative.

Marcial said 15 staff of the Angeles University Foundation gym, 40 employees of the Quest Hotel, including security guards and bus drivers and the PBA office delegation, including media, had a round of swab testing a few days ago and the results were all negative.

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