Beermen straining at the leash


    SAN Miguel Beer has been straining at the leash to get back to work and it shows.

    The Beermen were swab tested for the coronavirus last Tuesday, beating to the draw all other PBA teams that also want to return to practice gyms after more than five months of hibernation.

    “Mantakin mo, limang buwan kang nasa bahay lang? Kaya everybody’s very eager, very excited to get back to work kaya nauna na kaming mag-pa-test,” related SMB coach Leo Austria.

    “Base doon sa pag-uusap namin at nakita ko, mukha namang walang mag-pa-positive kaya very upbeat lahat,” added Austria. “Hopefully, ganoon nga lumabas sa results.”

    Beaten to the draw were the Beermen’s sister teams, Magnolia and Ginebra, whose players are set to be tested yesterday also at the government-approved San Miguel Corp. facilities.

    The nine other teams are to be tested at the Makati Medical Center today and tomorrow with all results expected anywhere from three to four days.

    Even if the Beermen were quick to jump the gun on the other teams, they still must wait along with the other teams since Commissioner Willie Marcial has ordered all practices to start only by Tuesday next week.

    Under the IATF-approved guidelines, only four players and a trainer, all supervised by a safety officer, would be at a gym at any given time for said non-contact sessions meant for mere individual conditioning and workouts.

    The pro players’ return to the practice gyms was made possible by the government easing Metro Manila and other areas of the country back to MGCQ level starting yesterday.

    Austria said he’s simply glad to get the first step in the form of swab testing out of the way.

    “Talagang everybody wants to play, but we still have to do the conditioning first,” he said.

    “Halos lahat naman nag-wo-work out sa kani-kanilang bahay dahil alam mo naman ang players lalo na’t ganyang mga professionals. May mga pride iyan. Ayaw nilang mawawala sa kondisyon,” added the reigning Coach of the Year.

    “Pero siyempre, iba pa rin ‘yung nasa gym ka na kumpleto equipment.Mas madali kang makakabalik sa game-shape.”

    Even without injured six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo the reigning Philippine Cup champion got off to a flying start in its title-retention bid by beating Magnolia 94-78 in the season-opener last March 8 before the pandemic forced the PBA to shut down operations three days later.