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PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas says COVID-19 cases within players, refs prompt postponement

The PBA last played on Dec. 26 before it went on a Yuletide break, which was prolonged by a COVID-19-related postponement. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas revealed on Saturday that some players and officials have recently contracted COVID-19 which left the league with no choice but to prolong its Christmas break.

The PBA went on a ceasefire beginning Dec. 27 and was supposed to resume on Jan. 5.

However, the PBA, following the Inter-Agency Task Force's decision to place Metro Manila back under Alert Level 3 due to a surge in cases believed to be mainly caused by community transmission of the COVID-19 omicron variant, decided to postpone the games indefinitely until the league deems it can finally resume.

Vargas said that at least one-fifth of the players and referees were tested positive for COVID-19.

"Sa totoo lang, maraming natamaan na players natin at saka referees ng COVID, but it's well within the national average. The infection rate is about 40 percent. I think about 20-25 percent of our players and even our referees got infected," Vargas told former PBA commissioner Noli Eala in the Power and Play radio and online program.

The good news, according to the TNT governor, is that "they're recovering very well."

He also said that the league considered playing inside a bubble again.

However, Vargas said that the PBA deferred the idea out of health and safety concerns.

"We also want to make it safe for everybody so we can continue to give exciting games kasi kung may kasamang takot na nasa isip nila, we will have a halfhearted game," he added.

While the resumption remains uncertain at the moment, Vargas said that the PBA is looking to update its fans weekly about the situation.

"We're looking at it day-to-day. We're looking at doing updates every week so we can find out what is the best time for us to start again," he continued.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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