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Red carpet welcome

Batangas City set to open doors to all 12 PBA teams for training camps that could jumpstart Season 46
/ 04:02 AM May 03, 2021

Arwind Santos (in red) and San Miguel Beer can start training to reclaim the PH Cup as early as next week. —PBA IMAGES

Some Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams have expressed interest in holding training camps outside the capital and four nearby provinces locked down by the government to get their players in some form of game shape.

Batangas City, meanwhile, is set to welcome them with open arms.

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PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is set to have a meeting with Mayor Beverley Dimacuha and Rep. Marvey Mariño on Friday for formalities and to iron out kinks—if there are any—on the city hosting PBA teams to train there and make the players ready if ever the 46th Season does get a green light to open.

With the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna (NCR plus) under modified enhanced community quarantine and any sporting event still not allowed to be held, teams like San Miguel Beer (SMB) and TNT are exploring the option of gathering in Batangas City to train and have full-on scrimmages.

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At least three venues

“They are very willing to host us,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Sunday, ecstatic at the prospect of having some sort of activity for his teams. “It will help us get on track for a possible opening in June.”Marcial said the Batangas Coliseum, Batangas State University gym and even the Lyceum and University of Batangas courts can be made available for the teams after Marcial sits down with the good mayor and representative.

“I really think training in Batangas, as an option, is very doable, and practical if ever NCR plus still does not revert to [General Community Quarantine],” SMB team manager Gee Abanilla said.

Chot Reyes, the Tropang Giga’s comebacking coach, said the club is likely to take up the PBA’s invitation—a stance that should not come as a surprise, considering how the team spent weeks training inside a self-contained environment in Laguna province just days before the league’s own bubble in Clark Freeport for Philippine Cup.

Teams like idea

For Phoenix, which nearly made the Finals there, any opportunity to build cohesion—especially with their current state—is a chance too rosy to pass up on.

“At this time, we will take any opportunity that we can have to work together and fine-tune our craft, especially that half of our team is new,” said Fuel Masters coach Topex Robinson.

“I see the benefits of already getting started and getting some court action,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso.

“To be honest with you, Alaska is still on the fence on the idea of practicing outside of NCR plus,” he shared. “At this point, we all are very anxious to get going again. I’m just waiting to see more of the details because the invitation is for all 12 teams.”

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Like Cariaso, Rain or Shine team owner Raymond Yu has yet to cash in on the idea.

“We will wait for guidance from commissioner Willie [first],” he said.

“The PBA, in my opinion, should really start soon as the government, I hear, is considering to reopen certain areas in order to spur or ignite the Philippine economy. I really do hope we can help in our way,” Abanilla said. INQ

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TAGS: Basketball, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)
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