While comfortably snugged in their rented apartments with the typical cold and wet Baguio weather, members of the Banko Perlas Spikers just hope that they finish their quarantine and train some more in time for the July 12 opening of the Philippine Volleyball League in Laoag City.
“It is unfortunate that this happened but we followed and still are following the health protocols set by the city and the GAB (Games and Amusement Board),” Perlas spokesperson AJ Perartilla told RNG Luzon Monday, right after the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine women’s volleyball team reacted to the story that eight of the players infected are members of the national team.
“It is good that the players have no symptoms. Yun lang hindi makatraining at kailangang mag-isolate (Sad that they cannot train because they have to isolate),” she added.
Last Friday, mayor Benjamin Magalong told media that half of a 16-squad volleyball team undergoing bubble training here which he referred as the national women’s squad contracted Covid-19.
“We will follow the protocol, it is better to follow than to go against it,” she said.
But the isolation has disrupted their training as the players start to gel with barely three weeks to game time.
The three weeks that they have been in Baguio had been fruitful as the players found their chemistry, play wise and personality.
With new members and a year of training and play cancelled, the team is finally getting its groove, said Perartilla.
Asked if they have the chance to see Baguio, even with the gloomy weather, Perartilla said that the team’s focus now is to really get in synch with each other.
“We have to be in Laoag by July 12, Covid-19 free, because they require it. So our players, especially those tested positive really have to isolate. This is their livelihood, they have to play and train hard,” she said in Filipino.
Perartilla confirmed that five other players have been placed under observation and whose tests need yet to arrive are also in isolation.
“I guarantee that not one of them goes out even if the city provides the transportation, but we train hard twice a day. So at the end of the day, the players are really so tired that they cannot go sightseeing. And it is so called,” she added.
“How are they now? They are fine,” she said.
The team was the third cluster in the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the city, the mayor announced in a special press conference at his office Friday afternoon.
The team led by captain Nicole Anne Tiamzon arrived in Baguio last June 1 for a one month bubble training at the Saint Vincent Gym as they prepare for the PVL bubble in Laoag, Ilocos Norte on July 12.
Magalong told media Friday afternoon that the eight were among the three new clustering of Covid 19 surges that include 98 of 197 Philippine National Police officers on training at the Regional Training Center and 50 call center agents inside Camp John Hay.
The cops and call center agents have been quarantined and isolated, added Magalong.
Magalong said that lapses and poor implementation of the city’s guidelines were neglected and/or violated according to investigation.
Mangaywan Corporation, which operates Porta Vaga and the Saint Vincent Commercial area including the gym, said the team has stopped training since last week and will resume once they complete their isolation and quarantine.
The team chose Baguio “because they have all the facilities available for us to prepare properly for the upcoming conference,” Perlas owner Charo Soriano was quoted as saying in a published news earlier.
Prior their arrival, the members of the team underwent RT-PCR tests and awaited the result before they started their training.
The team also include former University of the Philippines standout Katherine Bersola and Jhoana Louisse Maraguinot, former member of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, winner of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines Season 77 volleyball title.
Another team, F2 Logistics has been eyeing Baguio for its bubble training. City sports coordinator Gaudencio Gonzales said, however, the team has no standing request for bubble training.
F2 earlier reportedly wanted to use the University of the Philippines Baguio gym but the request was denied.
Meanwhile, the national squad that include stars Abigail Marano, Dindin Santiago – Manabat and Baguio lass Majoy Baron will also be going to Ilocos Norte to start their bubble training.
The team will be joining the men’s national team and the beach volleyball squads in the province where they will officially hold their bubble training. The beach volley team have been training at the Saud Beach in nearby Pugudpud, one of the country’s top beaches.
The national indoor volleyball teams, who will bubble train at the Centennial Arena in the capital town of Laoag, are expected to also see action in the Asian Senior Championships on August 29 to September 5 in Pampanga for the women and September 12 to 19 in Chiba, Japan for the men.
The national team culled by the Philippine Olympic Committee recognized PNVF from the different volleyball teams seeing action in the PVL and schools and under head coach Arthur Mamon.
The players are still with their professional league teams and are undergoing bubble training in different provinces.
Marano denied the report that some of the national team members contracted Covid-19 while in Baguio since they will not be training in the Pine City.