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Covid-hit Bolts, Aces seek rebound



Meralco and Alaska are raring to bounce back once they receive the green light to return to action in the 46th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup.

Bolts head coach Norman Black and Aces tactician Jeff Cariaso said they remain in high morale despite getting sidelined for a week in accordance with the league’s health and safety protocols.

Black said they are looking forward to restart their practices and continue their campaign in this all-Filipino tourney that is being held under semi-bubble concept in Bacolor, Pampanga.

“We’re trying, we’re okay. We just hope that we can quickly get back on the court as soon as possible,” Black, whose squad is at solo third with a 5-2 win-loss card, said.

“We’re just following the protocols right now. We’re just waiting for their approval to play again.”

Since the PBA resumed early this month, Alaska and Meralco were the second and third teams that were barred from playing due to the league’s stringent guidelines against Covid-19 infection.

NorthPort wasn’t allowed to play in the opening week after head coach Pido Jarencio and members of the coaching staff tested positive from the deadly pulmonary virus.

TNT Tropang Giga was also barred from playing back in July when four of its players yielded positive results during its weekly mandatory RT-PCR tests.

Cariaso, meanwhile, said some of his wards have already started training couple of days ago while they still wait for other players to end their isolation process.

He said several members of the squad tested positive, but were immediately identified as asymptomatic cases.

Both teams are tipped to undergo final confirmatory testing before the league formally includes them in the schedule of games next week.

“Obviously, we did not expect for this to happen. We are currently managing a few of our guys being positive, what’s good is they’re all asymptomatic,” Cariaso said.

“We actually started practicing last Wednesday, but we’re not complete. We’re just trying to stay in shape and stay game-ready.”

“We’re dealing with it now but we hope to be on schedule next week.”  IAN SUYU