Pro league set to okay five-player practices

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    PBA teams can now look forward to being more prepared for the coming season than they were in the last Philippine Cup.

    Sources told Malaya-Business Insight the league plans to allow teams to hold practices involving five players starting next Monday.

    A team insider reached by Malaya confirmed this yesterday.

    The plan was broached by league officials to the 12 team managers last Friday, according to the sources who requested anonymity until the PBA makes the official announcement.

    The announcement, the sources added, would be made by Commissioner Willie Marcial after a meeting with GAB officials, led by chairman Baham Mitra, today to iron out the safety protocols to be implemented in the practices.

    “Baka aside from the safety measures ma-discuss din doon sa meeting kung kailan papayagan ang mga teams na makapag-5-on-5 na,” said the source.

    Marcial could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

    The plan, once realized, should be a very welcome one for the teams which are all eager to start preparing for the coming season tentatively scheduled to start in early April.

    After being laid off by the coronavirus outbreak last March, the 12 member teams were only allowed to conduct practices last August but those were limited to four players, a trainer and a safety officer during every session.

    Eleven of the 12 teams also got to do 5-on-5 drills and scrimmages only after they entered the Philippine Cup bubble in Clark, Pampanga, starting in late September.

    The only exception was TNT, which got a headstart over the rest of the field by conducting its initial practices through a bubble concept inside the Inspire Sports Academy Complex in Laguna.

    The last Philippine Cup, the lone tournament salvaged from the PBA’s pandemic-ravaged 45th season, ran from Oct. 11 up to Dec. 9 when Ginebra wrapped up the championship series against TNT in just five games.

    Afterwards, most of the squads rued the little time they had to prepare as a team, affecting cohesion and chemistry.

    “Nakuha lang nila iyon (cohesion) while the tournament was already in progress,” the source pointed out.

    That should be of minimum concern this time around.

    “At least makakapag-umpisa na silang makapag-review ng plays, mag-run ng plays,” said the source. “It would just be the simple matter of scheduling, kung ano-ano kumbinasyon nila per session.”

    At least as important, the players now have teammates to accompany them in their sessions which would start with strength and conditioning regimens.

    “Mas conducive kasi ‘yung may kasama ka,” stated the source. “And when you have companions mas challenged ka.”