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    NCAA back in action after tough challenges in bubble camp

    Mar 26, 2022
    Cholo Martin, Louie Gonzalez, Boyet Fernandez and other coaches hope the sacrifices at bubble camp pay off as action NCAA begins.

    FOR NCAA coaches, the challenge of keeping their players in check while they deal with homesickness is probably the biggest hurdle that all 10 teams had to face in the buildup to the season.

    "Hirap kaming lahat ng coaches sa bubble because malayo kami sa pamilya namin and at the same time, yung players din malayo sa pamilya nila," said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

    It's an added responsibility for these bench tacticians, trying to bring out the best from their team while managing the mental health of their players.

    "Dalawa ang pag-aaralan mo eh, yung physical at emotional aspect ng players. We're all adjusting and I hope na maganda ang outcome ng ginagawa namin," said Lyceum coach Gilbert Malabanan.

    Emilio Aguinaldo College mentor Oliver Bunyi agreed: "We have to stay stronger kasi yun talaga ang most challenging part nitong bubble, being away from your families and your families missing you."

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    Arellano coach Cholo Martin said it is much more difficult for players who already have families of their own.

    "Yung ibang players natin hindi lang binata. May asawa na yung iba so kailangan we care for everything, kausapin mo sila kasi maraming namimiss, family and friends, and exert mo lahat ng effort mo para matulungan mo sila," he said of his Chiefs.

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    Perpetual coach Myk Saguiguit also had to deal with these same problems albeit in a different degree with his young Altas, stating, "Nung medyo kalagitnaan na, doon ko nakita na yung iba are missing their families already. May umiiyak na akong players dahil pag birthday nila, di nila makasama yung pamilya nila. It's no longer about Xs and Os eh, pati yung family matters kailangan maka-find ways kami para maging masaya pa rin sila at positive vibes pa rin kami sa practice."

    Louie Gonzalez

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    Coach Louie Gonzales says the Bombers were well-prepared for bubble life

    Jose Rizal University bench tactician Louie Gonzalez has already anticipated these scenarios and feels fortunate that he was able to prepare his Heavy Bombers ahead of camp.

    "Bago pa kami pumasok, nag-mindsetting na kami na whatever happens, we're ready. So as long as di kami pumapasok, I told them to spend time with your families at ihanda niyo na ang isip niyo na pagpasok sa bubble, lahat ng gagawin natin para sa families natin at sa school natin," he said.

    Of course, majority of these players are still young and it's understandable if they feel uneasy being placed inside the bubble, all the more with restrictions slowly easing due to Metro Manila already being placed under Alert Level 1.

    "The biggest challenge talaga is yung mental aspect especially when the players are asking kung pwede na silang umuwi cause they see na may face-to-face classes na and everything is very much open, but we're here stuck in a bubble. Then again, they understand that we have to make a sacrifice and it's a blessing to be able to play," said St. Benilde coach Charles Tiu.

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    The same is the case for San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya, who noted, "Mentally mahirap talaga para sa bata because they feel bored at hindi sila makalabas samantalang nakikita nila yung iba na pwede na."


      The coaches understand they have to soldier on as they brace for a breakneck pace in NCAA Season 97 and feel fortunate that after two long years, they are finally back on the hardcourt.

      "Lahat tayo dito nagsa-sakripisyo, di lang para sa sarili natin, sa school, at para sa pamilya, kundi para na rin sa future nila," said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.

      Letran coach Bonnie Tan said it best, "Lahat naman for sure shortcut ang gagawin natin for this season. Pero despite all of those, as long as nakikita na natin yung mga bata in action, masaya na tayo kasi nakabalik na rin sila sa tagal nilang nawala."

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      Cholo Martin, Louie Gonzalez, Boyet Fernandez and other coaches hope the sacrifices at bubble camp pay off as action NCAA begins.
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