FOR PBA teams and players, it would be no surprise if they feel the last three months went by too fast.
While they spent a little of it on much-deserved vacations after a grueling season, they used most of it preparing for the upcoming grind.
Players were busy honing their skills on the court, while team officials went to work off it, wheeling and dealing with other counterparts in their bid to solidify their respective rosters either through the draft, free agency, or the trade market.
Some spent their training camps overseas, while some were content staying on local soil, applying what they learned in regular tune-up games.
In between, teams sneaked in out-of-town team-building sessions.
See if your team spent its offseason wisely.
The arrival of coach Tim Cone is Ginebra’s biggest gain this offseason.
What’s more important is that the league’s most successful coach came in early, giving him an entire offseason to work on the Gin Kings and make them the best triangle offense-running team they can be in their bid to end a seven-year championship drought.
The presence of LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, who usually spend their offseasons with the national team, were also crucial to their preparations.
Plus, they managed to integrate into their system top pick Scottie Thompson, whose collegiate career came to an abrupt end after Perpetual Help failed to reach the NCAA Final Four.
The Gin Kings were so focused on themselves that they played minimal exhibition games.
TALK ‘N TEXT
By grabbing the top two picks in this year’s draft, the Tropang Texters prepared for not just the future, but the present as well as Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario immediately provide athleticism, depth, and youth to the team’s aging frontline.
They gained chemistry as they took part in pocket tournaments in Korea as well as the MVP Cup.
They, however, fared sub-par in tune-up games, but it was understandable as they missed Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, whose experience with the national team is a major boost.
Overall, they are arguably the biggest gainers this offseason.
SAN MIGUEL BEER
They made the fewest moves this offseason and had no impact picks in the draft, yet the Beermen continued to improve.
After all, they didn’t have to make drastic changes as they were bent on keeping their championship lineup intact.
But who could refuse if veteran wingman Ryan Araña and promising guard Brian Heruela fell on your lap? Their acquisition makes their roster the deepest in the league.
The duo has made a solid impression in tune-up games, enough to threaten the mainstays’ starting positions.
Cornerstone June Mar Fajardo was hardly serviceable during training camp and exhibitions as he recovered from his recurring foot injury, but expect the reigning back-to-back league MVP to dominate right away once he returns to form.
The return of prodigal son Rabeh Al-Hussaini offers much-needed ceiling and youth to a Bolts’ side that has the shortest and oldest frontline in the league.
The Bolts also gained two significant rookies additions in Baser Amer and Chris Newsome, who are tasked to give stability to the Bolts’ backcourt that had a tough time breaking pressure defenses last season.
But the Bolts’ biggest acquisition is Jimmy Alapag, who came out of retirement to provide his valuable leadership more than his playmaking skills to the squad.
It was a bonus that the Bolts trained in Las Vegas for a week last month.
The Batang Pier made significant changes in their lineup this offseason. They got two proven leaders and scorers in Jay Washington and Joseph Yeo.
Rookie Roi Sumang, an expected first-rounder, landed at their laps as late as the third round, while they gained Jonathan Uyloan off waivers after Rain or Shine dropped the veteran shooting guard to the free-agent list.
GlobalPort also found a gem in Philip Paniamogan, an undrafted guard who showed he belongs in the league by emerging MVP in a pocket tournament in General Santos.
But the Batang Pier’s biggest gain is Terrence Romeo’s experience from Gilas Pilipinas as he’s bound to bloom into a full-fledged superstar in the league.
The team that gave up the top pick for a player they didn’t even keep.
The Elite had a chance to pick a legitimate star in Moala Tautuaa when they owned the first overall pick, which they inexplicably sent to Talk ‘N Text for Larry Rodriguez, who ended up with the Tropang Texters anyway.
Although they gained a veteran playmaker in Mike Cortez and stayed young with promising draft picks Art dela Cruz and Almond Vosotros, the Elite failed to compensate what they lost in Tautuaa.
Coach Tim Cone is simply tough to replace. The departure of the league’s most successful coach meant the Hotshots had to start from scratch and quickly adapt to a system instilled by rookie mentor Jason Webb.
It didn’t help that veteran Joe Devance jumped ship and joined Cone at the Gin Kings’ camp, leaving James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, and Mark Barroca as the leaders of the squad.
The Hotshots tried to draft an impact rookie in Norbert Torres, who, however, has seemed to lacked the toughness to bang bodies inside.
A silver lining, though, is that Ian Sangalang has returned to form, while Alex Mallari and Justin Melton have thrived in Webb’s system.
The biggest loser this offseason. They made the most moves, yet wound up not improving their roster one bit.
Looking at the players they gave up: Joseph Yeo, Jake Pascual, Dylan Ababou, Carlo Lastimosa, and Rico Maierhoher versus the ones they got in return: Mac Baracael, Jervy Cruz, Prince Caperal, Mick Pennisi, Emman Monfort, Josh Urbiztondo, and Jens Knuttel, as well as a bunch of future picks, you’d readily know they lost in their transactions in the offseason.
Instead of building the gains from a solid Governors Cup conference, the Energy are bound for cellar in the Philippine Cup with their roster.
It’s going to be a long season for coach Koy Banal and his wards.
The Aces seem to follow the mantra “Why fix if it ain’t broke” as they hardly tinkered their roster and just re-signed their free agents to new deals.
The Aces have yet to see their first-round pick in Kevin Racal, who’s still with Letran in the NCAA, while other rookies Marion Magat, Jaypee Mendoza, and Abel Gallliguez have turned in passing grades in their performances in tune-up games.
Their biggest gain is the experience Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros, and Sonny Thoss, as well as Vic Manuel got from respective national team stints.
RAIN OR SHINE
Like Alaska, the Elasto Painters made little changes in their already loaded lineup.
They lost Jervy Cruz, but got another serviceable big man in exchange in Jewel Ponferrada.
The Painters, though, became taller and younger with the addition of rookie guards Maverick Ahanmisi and Don Trollano, who have so far not disappointed. Josan Nimes has started to learn the system as a spectator, but has yet to join as he’s still has a duty with Mapua.
They are so loaded they had the luxury to unload veterans Ryan Araña and Jonathan Uyloan.
As evidence of their strength and depth, the Painters blew out their opponents in tune-up games.
For a change, though, they embarked in training camps in Australia and Bahrain.
The Road Warriors gained two energetic combo forwards in Sean Anthony from a trade and rookie Glenn Khobuntin from the draft to compensate for the loss of Niño Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos.
Kevin Alas, Simon Enciso, and Garvo Lanete, for their part, give the Road Warriors’ backcourt a major boost.
But the squad, which was so-so in tune-up games, has yet to find a suitable sub for Asi Taulava, who has Enrico Villanueva as his main replacement.
The Enforcers actually made strides in the offseason, getting Niño Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos in exchange for lottery pick Troy Rosario. They also gained significant free-agent pickups in Paolo Hubalde and John Pinto as well as from the draft in Bradwyn Guinto.
But what made Mahindra a loser is being involved in a contract mess with Alex Nuyles that opened a can of worms, with other former Kia personalities airing their grievances against their former squad, revealing how the squad is poorly ran.
Nuyles recently said the contract “miscommunication” was over, claiming his contract was finally honored, although he was still excluded from the final lineup, relegated to a practice player.
Whether or not the episode is indeed already behind them remains to be seen.