IN the thick of their preparation for the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) Season 46, the Terrafirma Dyip are looking forward to welcoming back top rookie pick Joshua Munzon in training.
Away from his mother ball club for some time as he went on a tour of duty with the national men’s three-a-side team at the recently concluded International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Austria, Mr. Munzon arrived in the country this week but have to undergo quarantine first before being able to rejoin Terrafirma.
“Maybe by the second week of June, he gets to join the team,” Terrafirma coach Johnedel Cardel was quoted as saying by the official league website.
Mr. Munzon was drafted by the Dyip first overall in the regular rookie draft early this year.
The country’s top 3×3 player, Mr. Munzon, who also made waves during his stint in the PBA D-League, is hoped to be among the key pieces in Terrafirma’s “rebuilding.”
He is expected to help cushion the departure of league-leading scorer CJ Perez, who the team traded in the offseason to San Miguel for the latter’s picks in this year’s draft and next season and a host of complementary players.
Terrafirma got big man James Laput with the eighth pick it got from the Beermen while another player, Filipino-Australian Jordan Heading, was selected first in the special Gilas Pilipinas draft by the Dyip and is currently on loan to the national team.
Mr. Munzon is coming off a tough FIBA OQT campaign where they finished dead-last in the tournament.
The Philippine team, composed of Messrs. Munzon and Perez and Mo Tautuaa (San Miguel) and Leonard Santillan (Rain or Shine), was not able to get its collective game going and went winless in their four matches, with an average losing margin of 7.75 points.
Mr. Munzon was among the top scorers in the competition with 27 total points, good for sixth place overall, but it was not enough to tow his team to a win.
Terrafirma is currently holding scrimmages as part of its preparation for PBA Season 46 in Batangas City in accordance with existing government policies that require the league to do such activities in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
Meanwhile, the PBA is batting to expand training activities it can do in preparation for its new season.
The league is eyeing a setup of team workouts by small batches in the National Capital Region as an added option for teams to their regular sessions and scrimmages done outside the NCR and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, collectively dubbed NCR Plus.
NCR Plus remains under GCQ with “heightened restrictions” until June 15, preventing member PBA teams from taking their preparation fully in Metro Manila.
PBA chief Willie Marcial said they have communicated to concerned national government agencies as to their plan and are hoping to get a favorable response.
“Hopefully at least, the individual training in NCR gets approved,” Mr. Marcial said.
The PBA is targeting to start its Season 46 in late June or early July so as to allow it to have two conferences this year.— Michael Angelo S. Murillo