Governor Dennis Pineda on Wednesday expressed his support to this Freeport as a possible venue of the 45th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in a so-called “bubble” set-up.
Pineda said should the PBA Board of Governors decide on Clark as the venue, Pampanga will welcome this as an opportunity to showcase the warmth and hospitality of the province and its people.
“Kung dito po gagawin sa probinsya po ng Pampanga (ang bubble), asahan niyo po ang pagtutulungan ng province at ng Clark, ni BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) president Vince (Dizon) at ibang governors (of Central Luzon) kung dito gagawin ang PBA (If it is to be done here in the province of Pampanga (the bubble), expect the cooperation of the province and Clark, BCDA president Vince Dizon and other governors (of Central Luzon) if the PBA is to be done here,” Pineda said during a press conference on coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Quest Hotel here.
Earlier, Clark was named as one of the possible venues that could host the PBA in a bubble environment, similar to what is being staged by the National Basketball Association (NBA) in Disneyworld Florida, USA.
Together with Clark Development Corporation (CDC) president-CEO Noel F. Manankil and Dizon, the provincial government will see to it that PBA players, officials and staff will feel at home while enjoying the world-class facilities in Clark, Pineda said.
NLEX Road Warriors head coach Joseller “Yeng” Guiao earlier cited the advantage of Clark as the bubble venue inside the Freeport.
He mentioned the availability of topnotch hotels, proximity to Metro Manila, safety and security of Clark, being a gated community.
Other venues being eyed by the PBA include Baguio, Batangas, Cubao, El Nido, Laguna, Subic, and even Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Under a bubble set-up, players, team staff and league officials could be protected from the pandemic as they will only be allowed to play and stay in designated playing courts, billeting and activity areas for the duration of the playing season.
Clark, a two-time winner of Sports Tourism Destination of the Year award, hosted some games and events in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.
It is also considered as a “safe haven”, with investors, workers, residents and visitors observing strict health protocols against Covid-19. (PNA)