SUBIC Bay Freeport—Workers sifted sand at the beach volleyball courts here on Tuesday as the Subic Bay Freeport prepared to host the country’s first volleyball tournament to be held during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the 2021 Gatorade-PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup organized by the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) will be held from this Friday to Sunday after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the event under strict health guidelines.
The IATF through Resolution No. 79 issued on October 15, 2020, allowed the PSL tournament subject to strict observance of, among others, health and safety protocols finalized with the SBMA, the local Regional Task Force Covid-19 and the local Department of Health Center for Health Development.
“Because of this, there will be no spectators to be allowed at the tournament area, and only players and organizers and technical crew will be out there. But the games will be livestreamed on television and online channels,” Eisma said on Tuesday.
“It’s the second-best thing next to a [playoff] with live audience, and I believe the excitement and intensity of the games won’t be diminished a bit by the restriction,” she added.
Under the sports bubble concept, all participants in the tournament, as well as the organizers and technical crew, will be housed in dedicated accommodation facilities and monitored by health and safety personnel, Eisma said.
“They will have no interaction with the public,” she said.
Eisma said the PSL tournament will just be the first in a series of tourism-related events being prepared for implementation in Subic under the bubble setup.
“We are also eyeing basketball events, beauty pageants and conferences, which would be possible here because of facilities that allow social distancing, the availability of quarantine hotels where event participants can be housed in isolation, and strict adherence by stakeholders to health and safety protocols,” she said.
PSL Chairman Philip Ella Juico also told the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday that everything is set for the tournament.
“Everything is in order. There are certain kinks to be ironed out, but the event is pushing through and the teams are ready,” Juico told the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Milo, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp..
Two Abanse Negrense teams already arrived in Subic, while the rest of the field that include guest team Kennedy Solar Energy-PetroGazz, Sta. Lucia (two teams), F2 Logistics, United Auctioneers Inc., and Toby Sports are getting on board on Wednesday.Image credits: Henry Empeño