PBA inclined to hold bubble in Metro

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    IT seems the PBA is thinking along the same lines as NLEX coach Yeng Guiao as the pro league looks more inclined to hold its projected bubble in Metro Manila.

    That’s according to a reliable source, who insisted Metro Manila hotels bidding to host the projected bubble have far better chances of being given the rights over their provincial counterparts due to their advantage in terms of logistics and cost-efficiency.

    The PBA is looking at an NBA-style bubble to finish its Philippine Cup, put on hold since last March by the COVID-19 pandemic, starting next month.

    The announcement on which site would be chosen for the projected bubble should be made after the board meeting tomorrow.

    The PBA, which has allowed to do individual workouts since last Aug. 25, has already written a letter of request to the IATF for the go-signal to do full team scrimmages as early as next week.

    “Mas mahal kapag lumabas ka pa ng Metro Manila and there’s going to be bigger risks involved when you travel to a provincial site,” the source said.

    “Also, one big problem is the training gym. Remember, 12 teams ang nasa bubble and cramming them all up in just one gym for practices simply would not do. That would be a big scheduling headache,” added the source.

    “So ang thinking within the league, mas okay kung within the Metro na lang. Lahat halos ng practice facilities ng teams nandito na so it would be easier to remain in those controlled environments.”

    This was practically the same observation aired by Guiao.

    The former vice-governor of Pampanga has batted for the bubble to be held at the Clark Freeport Zone in his home province but also said that holding the bubble at the Smart Araneta Coliseum takes away the major concern about the teams’ training facilities.

    “Ang (suggestion) ko, maybe we can just stay in one hotel, then the game venue is at Araneta, but we can practice in our own facilities. Kumbaga hindi mo ire-release ‘yung players, they will stay in the bubble,” Guiao said in a recent interview with spin.ph.

    “So uuwi lang sila (players) sa hotel, nakikita mo sila, hindi sila lumalabas, hindi sila umuuwi, wala silang ibang contact,” added Guiao.

    “Pati ‘yung practice venue mo, nape-preserve mo ‘yung bubble ninyo doon, kasi disinfected na rin ‘yan at may mga protocols na rin kayo doon.”

    The 401-room Novotel Manila is right next to the Big Dome, taking away the risks of prolonged travel in Metro Manila, which remains the hotbed of the virus infections in the country.

    Smart Araneta Coliseum and Novotel are among those being considered to be the bubble site along with Clark, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna, El Nido in Palawan, Baguio and faraway Dubai, among others.

    The source said another thing to be factored in should be the psychological side.

    “The time frame for the bubble is around two months and may mga players diyan na ayaw mawalay du’n sa pamilya nila ng ganoong katagal,” the source pointed out.

    “Walang magagawa dito, the players have to earn their keep. Pero mas madali para sa kanila at pamilya na mas kokonti distansya nila sa isa’t-isa kaysa nasa probinsya o abroad ang bubble.”