NLEX not sold on practice ‘bubble’


    IT’S NOT worth it.

    That was the reason given by coach Yeng Guiao in explaining why NLEX scrapped the idea of following the lead of sister team TNT, which is reportedly out to set up an exclusive training camp outside of Metro Manila once allowed to do so by the government.

    “Nagbalak kami. Ini-explore namin, pero hindi na namin itutuloy,” Guiao told Malaya-Business Insight.

    “Actually, in-approve naman ng management. Even ‘yung budget in-approve na nila. Pero over time, we decided na it’s simply not worth it in terms of all the trouble, inconvenience and cost,” added Guiao.

    The KaTropa, according to a source, are eyeing to go on a mini-bubble in Batangas should they be given the go-signal by the IATF, the policy-making body regarding guidelines to be followed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

    Once in the isolated camp, TNT could do full team workouts and scrimmages, giving it a huge advantage over the rest of the PBA field moving towards the season resumption targeted in mid-October.

    The other PBA teams expect to return to the practice gyms only later this month for non-contact and individual workouts and conditioning. The earliest they could hope to do full team scrimmages are in September and only if the IATF allows it.

    Guiao said he entertained the same idea put forward by TNT but ultimately decided against it due to a number of factors.

    “Una, masyadong time-consuming,” explained Guiao. “Pagpasok mo sa isang LGU may sarili silang protocols. So kahit may dala ka ng (negative) swab test results, puwede ka pa ring i-quaratine ng 14 days. Prior to that, pag nag-pa-swab test ka dito, four to five days bago lumabas ang results so all of those are time wasted.”

    More inconvenience in the form of PBA mandates also awaits his team once it returns from the mini-bubble.

    “Pagbalik mo, let’s say next week, swab test ka ulit kasi that’s a requirement from the PBA,” Guiao pointed out.

    “Tinanong ko si (PBA) Commissioner (Willie Marcial) kung kailangan pa kaming mag-pa-swab test kahit nakapag-pa-swab test na kami. Kailangan pa raw. Dalawang swab test kami in a span of two weeks. After that swab tests na naman after every 10 days dahil kasama sa utos ng PBA. Parang extra cost, extra inconvenience.

    “Even if you were in a bubble already, uulitin mo pa rin (tests). So huwag na lang in order to save the trouble, inconvenience and cost. Kasi isang team pag nag-pa-swab test P200,000. So sayang din.”

    Cost would not have been a problem in the Road Warriors’ intended camp site inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Guiao’s home province of Pampanga. But there was an entirely different problem there.

    “You can use the gym there, you can use the weights room. Pero pagdating kasi sa weights room may members ‘yun. Sinasabi nila, hindi nila puwedeng di papasukin ‘yung sarili nilang members,” related Guiao.

    “Siyempre, gusto nga namin exclusive. It will cost a little bit more. Kaya lang kahit bayaran ng extra, magagalit talaga ‘yung miyembro na hindi pinapapasok dahil nandoon kami.”