GAB says 'no bubble, no pro sports' in NCR, other Alert Level 4 areas

The PBA might be allowed to resume action in Pasig but only through a bubble. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Games and Amusements Board said on Thursday that there is only one way for a professional sports organizer to hold its matches in Metro Manila, which is currently subject to the pilot implementation of the new community quarantine system in which town-wide COVID-19 restrictions would be implemented instead of the old province-wide protocols depending on how tough the situation is amid the pandemic.

The entire metropolis has been placed under Alert Level 4, which looks similar to the modified enhanced community quarantine imposed in some other provinces with slightly lenient measures including perks for those fully vaccinated already.

"In Alert Level 4, hindi pa permitted ang contact sports except if conducted in a bubble," said GAB assistant chief for professional sports Jackie Ornido during the Usapang Sports online forum.

This means the PBA must hold a full bubble again if it intends to return to the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig for the conclusion of the Philippine Cup.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said that while he remains open to bringing the games back to Pasig, he will still wait on the alert level to be placed in the said city for next month.

Assuming Pasig stays under Alert Level 4, the full bubble might be needed.

If the PBA indeed plans to go back to Pasig, according to Ornido, it must be "in accordance with the JAO (joint administrative order) and IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) guidelines."

She also said that the type of bubble to be used, the environment, and the circuit will also factor in on how stringent the COVID-19 protocols GAB would suggest to the league as well as the other professional events.

On the other hand, Ornido clarified that the professional sports event guidelines per alert level have not been fully settled, but she said that the games will likely still be held behind closed doors even if they would take place in towns under Alert Level 1, or the "new normal".

GAB Chairman Baham Mitra then confirmed to Dugout Philippines after the online presser that all sports would be allowed in areas under the three lowest alert levels, but only individual training is allowed in areas under Alert Level 5, which is the new equivalent of the old ECQ.

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