MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the safety of the persons in the Subic bubble is the top priority of the league amid the virus crisis, and tough decisions had to be made for the league to be able to finally finish its season.
Duremdes, in a video shown during the TV coverage prior to Game One of the national finals, stressed the MPBL bubble is being held under the guidance of the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force.
The Basilan squad cried foul after the MPBL decided not to allow them to play in bubble.
Four Basilan players tested positive of COVID-19 during a re-swab after a seven-day quarantine outside the bubble, prompting the MPBL to make the decision to award the South Division title to Davao Occidental by default.
“This is not basketball anymore,” said Duremdes, although he did not specifically mention the Basilan Steel case.
“Ang concern ng liga is ang paglalaro, but again, ang pinakaimportante dito, ang pinaka-concern ng lahat ay ‘yung health factor at ‘yung health risk na naidudulot ng COVID na ito. Doble ingat po tayo at lahat naman ng decisions ay guided by DOH guidelines.”
The MPBL finally resumed its season this month following a year-long wait after the league was cleared by the government to hold a bubble in Subic. Duremdes said the league went into a long process of securing clearance from the government.
“Ang tagal po nating hinintay etong plano ng MPBL na mag-resume ang season-ender. Ang dami na pong challenge, ang dami na po nating tao na nakausap. Ang importante dito is ‘yung guidelines na sinusunod ng liga under DOH and IATF.”
Prior to the league decision to declare Basilan the loser by default, the MPBL made it clear that the the league's priority is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside the bubble.
“Ito po ang pinakaimportante sa lahat kaya po tayo nabigyan ng permit to resume and then, wala po tayong ibang gagawin kundi sundin lahat. All of our decisions are made through the guidelines of the DOH. Pinapaalala po sa atin lagi ng DOH na kailangan po nating sundin para tayo’y magtuloy-tuloy na matapos ang ating season,” said Duremdes.