Adjusting to bubble life, measured training keys to teams’ success in PBA resumption
One look at the players already in the bubble at Clark Freeport and Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia knows everyone is in great physical shape.
“Players here in the bubble look to be in good shape,” he told the Inquirer on Monday. “Teams, after all, had their own ways maintaining their [players’] conditions.”
“Most [continued] working out in March,” he added.
Whether that physical shape translates into actual game shape, however, remains to be seen.
Which is why Garcia feels that the teams who will thrive in the compressed Philippine Cup that unfurls at Angeles University Foundation this Sunday are the clubs who can immediately get back to playing their brand of hoops.
“I think it will be more [about] who can adapt [to the environment] and get back to playing ball,” he said. “Most of what we are doing right now are workouts, and we haven’t really been shooting.”
There is an urgent need to adapt to an unfamiliar situation, not the least of which is the current health crisis that has gripped the country and forced the PBA in isolation.
There will be no families to return home to after games. Sealed off from their loved ones, when representing the national squad, players often talk about homesickness after a few weeks of competing abroad. The PBA will be in a bubble for two months.
They will be heavily monitored, frequently tested and have very limited dining options due to health protocols. And once the games begin, they can’t event comfort themselves with the familiarity of fans.
How fast they will adjust to the new surroundings and environment will be key to getting everyone back in game shape. Physically, no one seems to be cramming.
Several athletes have been documenting their workout sessions on social media. NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena showed off his visibly beefier arms in a photo with veteran Asi Taulava. San Miguel’s defensive ace, Chris Ross, also looked ripped for the Beermen’s all-Filipino title defense.
Teams have been utilizing every part of the Quest Hotel for workouts.
According to Garcia, the biggest challenge now that the tournament draws near is making sure the players don’t overdo their training—something that was echoed by other coaches like Topex Robinson of Phoenix and Richard del Rosario of the Gin Kings.
“I keep reminding our physical therapists and trainers to watch out for anything my players say they feel,” he said. INQ
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