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Basilan Steel appeal decider forfeiture

The Steel are appealing the South Division Finals forfeiture. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Basilan Steel hit out at the MPBL for declaring a forfeiture of their South Division Finals rubber match against the Davao Occidental Tigers.

"[The] Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic-Phenom team is greatly disappointed with the decision of the MPBL management committee in default our Division Finals game against [the] Davao Occidental Tigers. We have long patiently waited for this resumption which took a year to unfold due to the pandemic," Basilan said in a statement on Tuesday night, calling the decision "unfair".

Upon the confirmation of four positive COVID-19 results among those initially tested negative upon entering the league's bubble in Subic Bay, Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes announced the decider's cancellation, giving Davao Occidental the forfeiture win.

[Related Story: Davao Occidental takes MPBL South as 4 more Basilan players test positive for COVID-19]

However, Basilan claimed that the squad was asked to concede the game when the test results arrived.

"We were even given the reason that we have to default because it is very hard for them to get a permit to resume the games and because of the high costs it will take to extend the bubble," the club further stated.

The Steel also denied the MPBL's claim that they arrived late into the league's bubble in Subic Bay, saying, "We are here in SBMA quarantined, who traveled in a single bus from Manila required by their [own] protocol which means upon entering SBMA and doing the swab test, for us the bubble already started."

The club also called out the league to adhere to what was agreed upon prior to the start of the bubble.

"We demand that MPBL implement its [own] protocol signed by its [own] medical team that if someone tested positive in the bubble, there would be a postponement of games until the team is ready to play its game," the statement continued, even sharing one crucial clause in the Department of Health circular on non-professional sports bubbles amid the pandemic.

"In the event that an individual is confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, the conduct of the athletic full bubble-type training and competition shall be suspended," the clause reads.

Basilan, on the other hand, said that they were denied of a request to acknowledge a second RT-PCR test for one player previously tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our request for a re-swab for a positive player fell on deaf ears," the club further stated.

A team official claimed to Dugout Philippines earlier in the day that the said suspected case is a false positive.

"Yung naunang nag-positive, hindi daw COVID sabi ng hospital," the official said, adding that the said player has been cleared to be discharged.

He even shared one conversation the team had saying that the player was actually diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection.

The player was eventually tested negative in the second test done a week after the first test.

With that said, the official bared that the team is appealing the forfeiture considering how the MPBL still cleared Makati to play against San Juan in the North Division Finals decider last week.

"Makati nga, pinayagan [kahit] 5 [lang sila]," he further said.

The team also called on league founder Manny Pacquiao to reconsider the forfeiture "not just for us but for the integrity of the league."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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