Austria bats for having own practice facility for each team during PBA restart

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Leo Austria

FILE – San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Restarting the PBA season may be a tall order, but the league is already on to something as it plans to create a bubble-like environment similar to NBA’s setup at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Several sites are already being considered as a viable venue for the PBA’s planned resumption with Laguna, Batangas, Subic, Clark, Cubao, El Nido, Baguio, and even Dubai on the list.

The plan has been well-received with coaches Louie Alas of Phoenix and Nash Racela of Blackwater all for it.

Also count San Miguel head coach Leo Austria in. Although, the multi-titled mentor has some suggestions to offer.

Austria said that instead of housing all 12 teams in one place, perhaps the league can designate a practice facility for each team. While for the games, Austria also thinks it’s best to have just one venue to play in.

“What’s important is the safety of everyone especially the players and this is a welcome development,” said Austria in Filipino in a Zoom conversation with Inquirer Sunday. “Maybe they can reconsider because it’s hard to find a place that can accommodate 200-plus players.”

“For example, San Miguel can be in Laguna or in one resort with all the facilities that are exclusive to them and other teams will have the same setup then for games we’ll go to Araneta. After the games, we go back to our respective facilities.”

Austria said that having a designated facility will prevent the league from having a compressed practice schedule and help players have better workouts especially during a time when they have been out of rhythm for nearly six months due to COVID-19.

Players have been holed up in their homes since March due to the lockdown and most have no access to basketball courts or gyms wherein they can continue their usual routine before the pandemic struck.

Austria is wary that without getting the normal practice runs, players are susceptible to injuries.

“It’s hard to accommodate 12 teams in one venue because there may be only one court or maybe none at all,” said Austria. “After a long layoff, you need three hours of practice per day and some teams even go for morning and afternoon runs.”

“If you’re not in the right condition then you’re prone to injury but if they find a place for the bubble then that’s a welcome development.”



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