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Basilan facing forfeiture of MPBL South finals after suspected COVID-19 cases

A waiting game ensues on Basilan's fate in the MPBL semis. MPBL (file photo)
By Dugout Philippines

SUBIC--With the whole Basilan-Jumbo Plastic squad placed under seven-day quarantine which started last March 9, changes in the schedule of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup have to be made.

Basilan and Davao Occidental-Cocolife were supposed to play the rubber match of their Southern Division Finals series Wednesday but was then postponed to a later date. This as two Steel players found out they tested positive for COVID-19 when they were at their quarantine hotel.

MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said two scenarios could happen for the remainder of the Subic bubble.

If all the swab tests of Basilan's players and officials return negative, the South Division finals decider will be played on March 17, with the National Finals starting immediately the next day.

However, if even at least one swab test from the Steel delegation comes back positive, the Tigers will claim the South division title by default and the National Finals will commence on March 17.

"If may mag positive ulit sa Basilan team, ang National Finals diretso na ng March 17. Win by default na si Davao kasi ibig sabihin noon close contact kasi sila (Basilan team) so baka nag manifest na sa ibang players," the league commissioner said.

The league's top honcho also said that the two players who earlier tested positive will not be allowed to play in the decider anymore.

"Ang ire-reswab na lang ay yung mga negative. Yung dalawang nag positive out na talaga yun."

Basilan is already without leading scorer and Gilas pool member Allyn Bulanadi as he is still recuperating from a dislocated right shoulder he sustained during the lead-up to the Manama window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

San Juan grabbed the first ticket to the Finals when they pounded the five-man Makati, 131-54, at the Subic Bay Gymnasium here, Wednesday.

After getting delayed by a week, the league has no other recourse but to cramp the schedule as the best-of-five Finals will be played on consecutive days, starting either on the 17th or 18th, with just a one-day breather after Game Two.

"Everyday siya ngayon, except pagdating ng Game Two, may break na isang araw bago mag Game Three," said Duremdes.

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