THE Meralco Bolts' recent bubble training in Laoag not only gave them the benefit to be in playing form for the coming PBA 46th season, it likewise enhanced the team chemistry and camaraderie.
With nothing to do and think of but basketball 24/7 in Ilocos Norte, the Bolts further got to improve on their strengths and at the same time, correct on their weaknesess.
"Maganda yung ganitong opportunity na magkakasama kami kasi puro practice lang kami. Araw-araw kaming magkakasama sa lunch, dinner, sa beach. So naging daily routine and yung familiarity ba," said big man Raymond Almazan.
"Sobrang laking bagay na may ganito kaming setup ng practice. Kaya tingin ko makakatulong yan sa amin this upcoming season kasi iba yung may chemistry na kayo para maganda yung itakbo ng team," added Almazan as he recalled the gains earned by the Bolts in their training camp during his guesting in the program The Game.
The 14-day training camp that saw the Bolts held scrimmages at the Laoag Centennial Arena and stay at Fort Ilocandia meant being away again from their respective families, just like the experience in the Philippine Cup bubble last season in Clark, Pampanga.
But the 6-foot-8 Almazan said it's a job they have to make that entails a lot of sacrifices.
"Practice talaga, sakripisyo muna," he said. "Wala muna kaming inisip talaga kung hindi mag-practice at magpakundisyon."
Obviously, the benefit Meralco gained training in the Laoag bubble was good enough that the team is again planning to go under another bubble up North.(RG)
"Maganda yung decision making ng management na mag-practice kami sa Ilocos kasi bago pa mag-MECQ (Moderate Enhance Community Quarantine) pina-plano na nila na makapag-practice kami," said Almazan.
"So siguro nung natuloy yung plano na mag Ilocos, ready yung mga players," he added. "And para sa amin, malaki yung mga ganitong bagay kasi yung camaraderie and chemisty ng team nabi-build namin going to the season."
That the Bolts are going all-out in their campaign for the coming Philippine Cup is understandable.
They came just short of making the all-Filipino finals for the first time in franchise history last season when Scottie Thompson drained a dagger three-pointer at the buzzer to oust the Bolts in their semifinals series against Barangay Ginebra.
Nonetheless, the semis stint was the first for Meralco in the Philippine Cup.