Reigning champion San Miguel Beer lost a major piece in its title hunt when Matt Ganuelas-Rosser decided to opt out of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) bubble inside Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
According to a reliable Daily Tribune source, the Filipino-American swingman begged off from playing inside the bubble starting 11 October for fear of contracting coronavirus.
In fact, Ganuelas-Rosser remains in the United States, where two of his relatives fell prey to the deadly virus that already killed millions worldwide.
“He will not be included in the lineup because he is still in the United States right now,” said the source, a team insider who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“He wrote the management a letter that he will not be joining the bubble. He opted out.”
Ganuelas-Rosser is not the first to player to opt out of the PBA bubble.
First to signify intention to sit out was Larry Fonacier of NLEX followed by veteran teammate Cyrus Baguio and injured June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel and Robert Bolick of NorthPort.
Of course, Sonny Thoss of Alaska also made it clear that he will not see action unless a vaccine has been made available.
The 30-year-old Ganuelas-Rosser has played a key role in the Beermen’s rise to power.
He helped the Beermen cop four titles — the 2017 and 2019 Commissioner’s Cup crowns and the 2018 and 2019 Philippine Cup diadems.
Without him, San Miguel coach Leo Austria has to dig deep into his bench to come up with a solid bench crew.
The source, however, said Austria would be enlisting Louie Vigil as replacement.
After all, Vigil is a former Beerman who bannered San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.
“Fortunately, Alab is also owned by San Miguel so the process of hiring him was easy,” the source said.
“Louie will be a great boost for the team, especially after losing to June Mar to injury.”