Garcia credits staff as Rain or Shine adapts to tough bubble grind
MANILA, Philippines—PBA teams barely had enough practice time to prepare for the Philippine Cup’s resumption in Clark, but Rain or Shine made sure its players would be in top shape.
The Elasto Painters went up to 2-0 in the bubble and head coach Caloy Garcia credits his staff and players for maintaining an intense regimen that prepared them for the tough grind of the conference.
“I credit that to my staff, to the trainers, to the coaches. They did a good job during the time we only had practices per group,” said Garcia Friday at Angeles University Foundation after the Elasto Painters’ 91-82 win over TerraFirma.
“That was the one concern that we had going into the bubble, the conditioning. So I told them to focus more on the conditioning, and once we’re in the bubble, that’s the time we’ll work on remembering the system.”
PBA teams weren’t allowed to practice for nearly four months due to community restrictions imposed to curb the effects of COVID-19.
To help maintain the players’ physiques, team conducted individual workouts and were monitored through video conference calls and when the government ultimately allowed practices it was done through a limited capacity.
It was only in Clark that the teams were able to scrimmage and practice as a whole.
Those continued practices and workouts, though, prepped the Elasto Painters to a condition akin to pre-COVID situations.
“Slowly we’re adapting,” said Garcia.
Still, there are some players who need a little bit more work.
James Yap, who is in his 16th year in the PBA, is shooting at a dry 18 percent for 2.0 points a game.
The 38-year-old two-time MVP also recorded a difficult +/- of -9.50, which is the lowest in the Rain or Shine roster.
“Probably there are a few more players who need to get into game shape. Hopefully, James gets into game shape at least by the fifth or sixth game,” said Garcia.
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