Not wasting time, Bolts open training camp in Ilocos Norte
Hoping to build on its cohesion ahead of most Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams, Meralco on Sunday traveled to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte to start training camp using a closed-circuit setup at Laoag Centennial Arena as their practice venue and Fort Ilocandia as a temporary home.
“[We] are just following the direction of the commissioner and the PBA board,” coach Norman Black told the Inquirer. “That means, all of us will have to make adjustments accordingly.”
“Their message to us was that we will have four weeks of practice time before the start of the league, so that’s what we are being guided by,” he added.
Governor Manotoc’s offer
The Bolts took up Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc’s offer to all PBA teams for their preparations for the 46th Season opening, which is projected to happen sometime in June, shortly after the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark Freeport.
Meralco brought 16 players, including Mac Belo, the former Gilas standout whom the club traded for during the off-season; and 3×3 star Alvin Pasaol, the ninth pick in the last Rookie Draft.
Training up north is simply a chance too hard to pass up, according to Black.
“[This] gives us an opportunity to get our training started in preparation for the league,” he said.
Meralco had quite the season in last year’s compressed Philippine Cup in Clark Freeport. The Bolts, not even considered as contenders in the tournament, were able to push old tormentor Barangay Ginebra to a deciding Game 5. They only got eliminated after a Scottie Thompson triple at the buzzer.
Like many other teams, Meralco is also still waiting for the local government’s clearance to practice at their home base in Pasig City.
“Everything is fluid,” Black said when asked about the possibility of the Bolts getting the go-signal to train at Meralco Gym.
“But we are scheduled to stay [here] for 10 days,” he added.
Phoenix, Alaska, and Blackwater all told the Inquirer in a previous interview that they are still hoping to stage their practices in their respective practice facilities. They are all hoping to learn of their respective local government’s decisions this week. INQ
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