The Philippine Basketball Association received the go-signal from the IATF to resume its season on October 11. Alaska Aces Head Coach Jeff Cariaso said that based on experience with his own team, PBA players are more than ready and are actually eager to resume regular competition.
The PBA stopped its 2020 Season last March as part of safety protocols to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Teams have recently resumed only non-contact drills at their own practice facilities. The Alaska mentor said his players are chomping at the bit and certainly want more than just one hour of on-court practice a day.
“To be honest, one hour isn’t enough for the guys. They miss playing. Like I said, they want to stay longer. But you know they’ve only been given one hour to refine their skills a little bit. To find their touch. To find their timing. And really just getting up a lot of shots. So that’s been a problem because they want more (time on the basketball court),” said Cariaso.
After months of being isolated at home during the nationwide lockdown of all activities, players have only been recently allowed to return to their practice facilities to execute drills.
Players are certainly grateful to be able to return to conventional basketball practice with balls, a basketball court to dribble on and a hoop to shoot at.
“To me they’ve been good. We’ve gone through, uh, this is our fourth week. Initially, it was really nice to see the look on the guys’ faces to be back on the court. Super excited. Super happy to be back holding a ball. Wearing their basketball suits and being able to be on an actual court. So super excited sila for the workout,” said Cariaso.
“Now that we’ve gone through four weeks —this being the fourth—I think now they are ready for a more normal practice where all the players are involved. But you know, we can’t complain. We understand that right now, this is what’s allowed. And we’re maximizing it by getting a lot of shots. Getting a feel of the court. Being around teammates and working hard. So I can’t complain. The guys are really working hard and I really appreciate that.”
The Alaska mentor said the players are practicing drills enthusiastically and certainly look forward to going to the “bubble” at Clark City so that they can start scrimmages with teammates and go on to resume the PBA season.
“It’s been great. Guys are early. You know, it’s rare that they’re late because it’s their time to work out. They understand there is limited time on the court so they really want to maximize it. It’s exciting. It’s your feeling that we’re taking the right path to getting back to normal. Four weeks ago we were unsure but today we are planning for next week’s bubble,” said Cariaso.
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