CHICAGO - I just tested positive for pessimism over this fractured, ongoing PBA Philippine Cup conference in Bacolor, Pampanga.
My symptoms are serious doubt and mild outrage.
According to my sources, over 10 positive COVID-19 tests have now infected the tournament and I have a bad feeling that the league is not necessarily forthcoming about the matter.
I say that because the official statement the PBA issued yesterday regarding the postponement of the game between Meralco and Ginebra was spectacularly vague. It soundly defeated the purpose of a press release, a tool meant to convey clarity and withstand scrutiny.
Did one or more players test positive?
Did someone or a group get compromised and therefore subjected to contact tracing?
Did a coach pull a hernia, which falls under health and safety category, right?
Only the PBA knows. And sadly, it's clamming up like a suspect with a hazy alibi and sweating profusely in an interrogation room with a single swinging yellow light bulb.
I know Kume Willie Marcial is the shy, quiet type. But this is his time to be loquacious, to put his big boy pants on, show some transparency, and deal with the matter head on.
Lives are at stake here, not just Ws and Ls.
This pandemic cannot be trifled with. As of September 3, 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus has claimed 33,680 lives in the Philippines.
Imagine the Mall of Asia at full capacity of 20,000 people inside it. Add 13,680 more and imagine them all dead.
Can you picture the horror?
Maybe the PBA can't because most of its players are vaccinated. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined that even the fully inoculated can still be active carriers.
Per latest data from covid19stats.ph, Bacolor, Pampanga has had 14 deaths in 475 cases.
The low infection and mortality rates make this third-class municipality of 48,066 people a relatively safe haven.
Hopefully it stays that way given that Bacolor is now being infested by players and team personnel coming from other communities, many of whom are sharing rooms at hotels and local AirBnB hubs to cut costs.
What if, God forbid, the positive infections would leak out of the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym where the games are played and spill unto that tiny paradise in central Luzon?
Semi-bubbles are for semi-pros
As pointed out by my friend and former PBA commissioner Noli Eala, it should have been "a full bubble or no games."
A semi-bubble is half-hearted, haphazard.
The PBA is a pro league where filthy rich teams can afford to time and again circumvent the salary cap with under-the-table perks for prized players. Yet it insisted it can no longer afford the P70 million needed to replicate the full bubble at Clark last season.
If the goal here was purely financial why not spend money to make some?
If only to assure the safety of everyone involved, couldn't the 12 participating teams sacrifice a share of their TV revenues?
A glutton for punishment, I'm still rooting for Marcial to pull this one off.
But, man, semi-bubbles are for semi-pros.
The PBA is the real deal. It should have gone full throttle.
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