One ball per player: PBA coaches admit ‘new normal’ training takes getting used to
MANILA, Philippines—As PBA teams resumed their practices after nearly five months of being idle, some coaches admitted that practicing amid the COVID-19 pandemic takes some getting used to.
Phoenix and Blackwater recently held their practices this week but their training sessions were far from what it used to be with the teams getting broken into five-man groups, four players and one coach to practice social distancing and maintain health protocols.
There were also health professionals assigned to monitor every team.
Elite head coach Nash Racela said the practices have been a struggle since they are not sure what activities are allowed so they have to regularly communicate with the PBA on what they can and can’t do.
Coaches can’t even retrieve basketballs during shooting drills as players are designated one ball each and they need to rebound their own shots.
“If we notice something questionable then we ask the PBA if we can and if they say that it’s allowed then we’ll do it,” said Racela in Filipino Friday. “It’s better safe than sorry, we might be fined.”
Louie Alas, the head coach of the Fuel Masters, said that they have resulted in shouting at each other during drills as getting close to your teammates is prohibited at the moment.
Apart from adjusting to the new normal, Alas said that power forwards Jake Pascual and Dave Marcelo both gained weight during quarantine as they couldn’t get the proper workout and rehab in after their respective surgeries.
Pascual suffered an ACL injury while Marcelo was operated on his ankle.
“I told them that they should watch their diets so they won’t get up there in pounds, and being a professional means that you have to watch over your weight,” said Alas in Filipino.
Racela added that if practices before saw them run through drills and scrimmages in a two-hour period, their training sessions were reduced to shooting spots and basic conditioning.
“It’s more of skill work, strength and conditioning,” said Racela. “We’ll do this for the first two weeks because we really can’t do anything competitive at this point because there are too many limitations even with the use of the balls.”