The grind never stops for Basilan-Jumbo Plastic amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With its Chooks-to-Go MPBL South Division Finals series against top seed Davao Occidental-Cocolife postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, the Steel are capitalizing on the additional time to prepare for their do-or-die battle.
“From time to time, I have been watching videos of our games, doing some scouting. Because of the quarantine period, I have more time to study our opponent,” said head coach Jerson Cabiltes.
Basilan, who defeated Iloilo in the quarterfinals and Bacoor in the semis, was able to stun Davao Occidental in Game One 74-72. However, the Steel could not take advantage of their homecourt last March 11, bowing 76-81.
Game Three was supposed to take place on March 14 but the league had to postpone the games for the safety of the MPBL community.
Despite this, the Steel, headed by Allyn Bulanadi and Hessed Gabo, are keeping in shape at the comfort of their homes with the enhanced community quarantine in effect in Luzon.
“I remind my players to always stay in shape because we really don’t know when will COVID-19 end,” the youthful tactician shared.
“Just giving them workouts to do at home during this quarantine period.”
Besides staying sharp, Cabiltes is also keeping himself busy as a frontliner against the pandemic. He is serving as a kagawad in Barangay 359 in Manila.
“Siyempre, nakakapagod dahil yun nga, I review the tapes in the morning then help in keeping our barangay safe at night,” he said.
“Pero what is happening is beyond sports and I am just doing my part in this battle against COVID-19. Yung pagod wala yun.”
Seeing first hand the long hours spent by the country’s frontliners on a daily basis, Cabiltes made sure to pay tribute to them. Moreover, he and the Steel are dedicating the rest of their campaign to them in this tournament backed by Chooks-to-Go.
“Sa ating mga doctor, nurse, sundalo, barangay officials at iba pang frontliners, kayo po ang ating bagong bayani.”
Story by Justin Valencia