Alas, NLEX ramp up training as PBA targets July return
MANILA, Philippines — It’s been more than half a year since NLEX last played in the PBA and that long wait only made the team more anxious to step on the parquet floor.
Guard Kevin Alas said the extended layoff took so much toll that the moment they started practicing again their coaches had to remind them to tone it down.
The Road Warriors were ousted from the 2020 Philippine Cup in November and it wasn’t until May that the team was able to conduct full-contact practices recently wrapping up their five-day training bubble at Beverly Place in Mexico, Pampanga
“We were eliminated in November so it’s been more than six months and you can really see the intensity in practice,” said Alas in Filipino. “It’s like we’ve played for the first time and the coaches had to remind us that these are just the first days of practice.”
“The PBA will start mid-July so we’re really stepping it up. We’ve also upped the intensity.”
NLEX left the PBA bubble in Clark early after it finished ninth and failed to make the playoffs with a 5-6 record.
The nearly six-month inactivity was also longer than what players are used to as the PBA is practically a non-stop competition with just a few weeks of breaks in between the conferences before the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
Alas said while the long wait was excruciating, it also did wonders for others who were nursing injuries.
“This is also a blessing for the players because there are others who had injuries and they were able to recover,” said Alas. “But we’re also thinking of the other leagues outside the country like the NBA is nearing its end. So all this wait is making us excited.”