Three conferences played in 3 1/2 month durations each… is the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season too long for our professional athletes and fans? This could be a subject for debate in our basketball-crazy country, Palawan. I myself am a sports fan who can’t get enough of the game we all love but let’s set some time and ponder on what our PBA players go through in an entire season of training and active competition.

Let us first take a look at the National Basketball Association (NBA) that our very own play for pay league draws inspiration from.

The NBA caps the regular season in approximately 6 months while the playoffs extend for another two months. Add pre-season training and you will see that the championship contending teams will have 9 months of NBA basketball activity. Those teams that are eliminated early, will get 7 months of basketball work. That 3 to a 5-month window of downtime doesn’t mean players go idle but it does mean that they each have at least a month to rest their bodies in what sports therapists define as periodization. This one month period of rest allows the body to refresh and regenerate allowing a period of rest for optimum performance of an athlete in preparation for the next season.

The key dates of rest, summer training, strength and conditioning, skills development and training camp are all calculated to keep the athlete ready in various stages. They have also started to insert “load management”, the act resting veteran players in back to back road games as part of managing the athlete’s body.

The demands of professional sports can be very brutal to the body and the athletes need care on every aspect to keep them performing at a high level.

Going back to the local front, our PBA players compete all year round. Twelve teams, three conferences, 10-11 months of competition. Yes, there are 2 or so weeks of break in between but is that enough for the players to rest and recover? I personally believe that a two conference format, one All Filipino and one Import Flavored, should be enough both for the teams and fans.

If the PBA gets a 3-month off-season, our country would not be left wanting because we still have the collegiate leagues like the UAAP and the NCAA and the semi-professional league MPBL to look forward to. Yes, the Philippines will have one avenue or another to satisfy our basketball hunger.

Another advantage of a long break for the PBA is the benefit of preparing and training the national basketball team for international competition.

I have just mentioned a few scenarios but I know there are much more positives by spacing out many basketball tournaments around. If the PBA decides to condense their season by a month or two, guess what, the Philippines have more basketball supply than one could ever imagine. Check the local covered court or gym in your area on a weekend and see if you can squeeze a schedule in for a tune-up. Chances are, a Barangay league or commercial game already took your desired spot…. We do this for the love of the game.

The Bucks and the Raptors

It is back to square one between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors In the NBA Eastern Conference finals. The series is currently tied 2-2 with the winner of the best of seven series advancing to challenge the defending champion Golden State. The Warriors swept the west final 4-0 against the Portland Trailblazers.

After dominating the Raptors in Milwaukee, the Bucks struggled to keep the momentum going in Toronto. Both teams match well against each other and this writer believes that coaching and tactical execution will matter down the stretch on this series.

Kawhi Leonard of the Raptors and Gianis Antetokounmpo, both all-stars, are canceling each other out this series. Their respective support crews are also evenly matched so this series will definitely be decided on the bench where head coaches Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee) and Nick Nurse (Toronto) are expected to strategize and try to outwit each other.

We are but a couple of weeks away from the NBA finals and expect the more high level and high-intensity playoff basketball, Palawan!

(The writer is a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry managing Philippine countryside operations)

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