St. Clare coach says team barely made it back home ahead of lockdown | Inquirer Sports

St. Clare coach says team barely made it back home ahead of lockdown

/ 10:47 PM April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Players and coaches from St. Clare who beefed up Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic almost got stranded in Davao.

Fortunately for them, they made it back to Metro Manila on March 13, the same afternoon lockdown was imposed.

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“Some of the players were even thinking of staying,” said Jinino Manansala, whose wards were to face Davao Occidental-Cocolife for Division title of Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup.

For coach Jinino Manansala it felt like a “buzzer-beater.”

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“Now we’re not even sure how long the quarantine will stay,” he told the Inquirer. “There were 33 rooms booked in the hotel for us, imagine how it could cost if we stayed.”

The architect of St. Clare’s dynasty in the National Athletics Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities men’s basketball said his players are all accounted for.

“But they are all okay doing quarantine workouts,” said Manansala, who helped steer the Saints to five Naascu championships, including four straight last year.

And in these dire times, St. Clare has included the Saints roster as beneficiaries of its COVID-19 relief efforts.

The players got sacks of rice from the school and other assistance from Manansala’s family and several team alumni.

The ex-University of Santo Tomas guard said former players who also contributed include Jammer Jamito of Ginebra, Aris Dionisio of Magnolia and Cris Bitoon of Blackwater.

The Saints proved themselves last year in the PBA D-League when they bagged the Foundation Cup, carrying the franchise of BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare. It beat the Marinerong Pilipino in the finals.

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TAGS: Basketball, coronavirus, Jinino Manansala, lockdown, MPBL, pandemic, Sports, St. Clare
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