It’s back to the grind now nearly a month after writing history.
Members of the Gilas team that struck gold in the 19th Asian Games have returned to their respective clubs for the upcoming PBA Season 48, refusing to get stuck in the past as they look to succeed in the local league this time.
“Siyempre, hindi mawawala ‘yun,” said June Mar Fajardo regarding that cloud nine feeling of winning a prize as big as a continental title.
“Pero kailangan natin mag-move on. Bagong season na ng PBA, so PBA naman ‘yung focus ngayon.”
Arvin Tolentino added, “Ayoko masyadong isipin … Of course, it’s a different ball game, the PBA. If mag-stay ako sa moment before, I think it’s not gonna do good for me. I want to set that aside as much as possible.
“And, really focus on the upcoming season.”
After maximizing their well-earned 10-day vacation following their historic conquest of Hangzhou, almost all of the Nationals rejoined their parent teams right away, refreshed and excited for the season ahead.
“Nagsimula ako last week,” shared TNT forward Calvin Oftana.
“Tuloy-tuloy na yun. May laro rin kami sa EASL (East Asia Super League) sa November 1, and opening pa, may laro rin kami [na ang kalaban namin] Magnolia.”
That was evident when they attended the PBA Media Day at One Esplanade in Pasay. They actively took part in photo and video shoots, and mingled with one another in what was a reunion of sorts among this special batch of flag bearers.
But every one of them knows that all the brotherhood and whatnot will have to take a backseat once the new season, to be ushered by the import-laced Commissioner’s Cup, starts on November 5 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“We’re all looking forward to competing against each other, being brothers after the bond that we did in those two months,” said veteran floor general Chris Ross, who’s now a playing assistant coach for San Miguel Beer.
And as they head into the new season, the Gilas boys are bringing with them the experiences gained from the prestigious conclave, looking to apply and impart those to their teammates and coaches in pursuit of success.
“Of course it is all by God’s grace. I’m hoping na yung experiences, lessons na nakuha ko sa Asian Games, sana ma-impart ko rin sa mga teammates ko [and to the] coaches as well,” NLEX main man Kevin Alas said.
“Very big help,” said reigning MVP Scottie Thompson, on the other hand.
“Personally, naka-gain ako ng experience sa international game, especially sa Asian Games. Hopefully, makatulong this coming PBA season.”