CLARK FREEPORT – Having been tested not once but twice just before its PBA Philippine Cup outing against Rain or Shine somehow helped Alaska settle down and focus on winning.
Coach Jeff Cariaso said the Aces went through swab and antigen testing hours before taking the floor of the Angeles University Foundation gym (powerd by Smart 5G) on Thursday night.
The move by the team, according to Cariaso, was for the safety not just of the Aces, but of the Elasto Painters as well, noting that Alaska – along with Blackwater – was among the last teams to be exposed to the referees before the league confirmed the first suspected case of COVID-19 positive in the bubble on Wednesday.
The Aces did swab and antigen testing before the game against Rain or Shine, with the antigen test yielding negative result.
“We’re all negative (antigen) so that gave us the confidence to go out there and just relax a little bit,” said Cariaso.
“Not just for us, knowing that we weren’t going to spread it to our opponents is also something we think about.”
The Aces did loosen up during the game and didn’t panic even when they were down seven points twice midway in the fourth quarter.
Big man Vic Manuel led the Alaska comeback assault by firing 10 of his 18 points in the final period, including six of the Aces’ final points to secure their third straight win and move up in upper bracket of the standings at 3-2.
They also dealt Rain or Shine its first loss in the tournament after a 3-0 start.
“At the end of the day it’s still safety first,” said Cariaso.
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