DETERMINED to end a two-year PBA title drought, TnT Katropa is embarking on a two-week training camp in Lithuania as part of its preparation for the coming 43rd season of the league.
Led by coach Nash Racela and team manager Virgil Villavicencio, the Katropa arrived at the former Soviet bloc early Saturday evening (Philippine time) after an almost 12 hour flight from Manila.
One of the three Baltic states, Lithuania is a traditional European force in basketball and has won bronze medals in the Olympics (3) and Fiba World Cup (1). Ranked No. 4 Racela says it is a perfect training destination for the Katropa.
Lithuania also served as training camp for Gilas Pilipinas as it gears up for the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila, with Racela serving as one of coach Chot Reyes’ deputies.
The TnT mentor said the team would be playing four tune-up games with local ballclubs including BC Astana which will play with reinforcements.
“Yes they will have two imports,” said Racela straight from Lithuania.
“They are here for a similar training camp. But nasa tail end na sila, kami start pa lang.”
He did not mention though if one of Astana’s imports would be American Justine Carter, who caused a stir during the last Fiba Asia Champions Cup in China after referring to Chooks To Go-Gilas Pilipinas as the ‘sorriest team I ever played’ following BC Astana’s 73-65 loss to the Filipinos.
Recent signings Alex Nuyles, Frank Golla and Norbert Torres joined the team in the trip together with stalwarts Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Troy Rosario, Mo Tautuaa, Ryan Reyes, Harvey Carey, Roger Pogoy, Anthony Semerad, among others.
TnT has not won a championship since beating Rain or Shine in overtime in Game Seven of the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup under coach Jong Uichico. It did reach the finals of the 2017 mid-season tournament where it lost to the San Miguel Beermen in six games.
The Katropa will be back in the country on Dec. 13.