RECOGNIZING that preparation is vital in the setup the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will have when it resumes its season next week, the NLEX Road Warriors are doing just that with the end view of being battle-ready come tipoff.

“We’re very excited and we’re expecting a good performance. The team has been preparing hard, despite the limited practices we’re doing. Preparation is key to success; that’s one of our principles,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao was quoted as saying by the official PBA website.

The Road Warriors are already in Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, where the PBA “bubble” tournament will be held beginning Oct. 11.

The team, along with the rest of the field, league officials and staff, will be holed up in the former United States military base for the duration of the Philippine Cup, expected to last for at least two months.

The PBA is looking to finish at least a conference in its coronavirus pandemic-hit season.

In the bubble, NLEX will be bannered by young guards Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas and veterans Asi Taulava, Jericho Rosales and JR Quinahan.

Also with the team are big man Mike Miranda, who is once again part of the team; Kenneth Ighalo, Raul Soyud, rookie Mike Ayonayon, and Philip Paniamogan.

Veterans Cyrus Baguio and Larry Fonacier are not in the roster for the bubble. Mr. Baguio was left out of the list while Mr. Fonacier begged off to join for family health concerns.

NLEX is coming off a stinging experience last conference where it was unceremoniously booted out by the Northport Batang Pier in the quarterfinals despite topping the elimination round and holding a twice-to-beat advantage.

The team was aching to redeem itself in the Philippine Cup early this year but the pandemic did not allow it to. It is now looking at the resumption to see its cause through.

Like every stakeholder in the PBA, Mr. Guiao said they as a group are committed to the successful staging of the PBA bubble. They are following protocols set by the league and the government and vow to give fans a showing worth their while. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo