For PBA, vaccine is magic word

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    EVERYBODY agrees that getting inoculated against COVID-19 would enable the PBA family to go ahead with its plans for the season.

    But there’s this nagging question of whether the vaccines would come in time for the PBA to hit its new target dates.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday said there is still no word on when the Moderna vaccines ordered by the pro league from the Red Cross would come.

    Ditto for separate orders placed by the San Miguel Corp. and MVP groups, which has both camps setting aside part of those vaccines for all the teams, their staff and personnel in the Commissioner’s Office.

    “Wala pang abiso sa akin ang Red Cross, tapos si MVP wala pa ring dumarating sa kanila,” Marcial related to Malaya-Business Insight.

    The MVP group, which owns the TNT, Meralco and NLEX teams in the PBA, has reportedly earmarked 1,500 doses of its purchases to the pro league while the PBA has ordered 2,000 to 3,000 doses of Moderna vaccines.

    It is not known yet how many doses the SMC group has ordered although its sports director, Alfrancis Chua, has said vaccines will be given out for free to all the 12 PBA teams as well as their personnel.

    The PBA, SMC and MVP were among those which placed their orders following a tripartite agreement announced last month among the government, vaccine-producing pharmaceutical companies and the private sector, allowing the latter to purchase its own anti-COVID doses.

    A provision of the deal calls for the private companies to donate half of the vaccines purchased to the government.

    That is a sacrifice everybody in the PBA is willing to make to help the government battle the pandemic, which is threatening to hamstring the season anew like last year when only the Philippine Cup was played in a bubble in Clark.

    Marcial also expressed hope that all the vaccines ordered would come sooner than later. “Siguradong tuloy na tayo pag nagkaganoon, dumating na vaccines at vaccinated na lahat ng tao natin,” he said.

    After the recent upward jump in virus cases in the country prompted the government to place Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces under a two-week ECQ, the PBA was forced to push back its April 18 season-opening date to next month.

    Also jeopardized was the PBA’s plan to hold games at the Ynares Center in Antipolo under a semi-bubble format.

    Marcial admitted having been inoculated is no guarantee the players and other involved personnel wouldn’t contract the virus, so health and safety measures would still be enforced.

    “May mga testing pa rin,” said Marcial. “Siguradong may mag-po-positive pa rin doon, pero hindi na severe at magiging mas madali ang recovery period.”