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Before Gilas service Scottie and Oftana rest

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Early PBA exit lets Scottie and Oftana rest and get better before Gilas service

As part of the first round of Fiba Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers, a few PBA players were able to take a break before their Gilas Pilipinas tasks.

The teams of Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Calvin Oftana, and Chris Newsome were kicked out of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs early, which wasn’t their choice.

The rest came in handy when it was time to go back to work for Gilas and then for their home team. 

But Thompson kept working hard during the off-season, especially after being added to a 12-man top national team that will be the Gilas’ core for four years.

Thompson stays in shape

“Talagang you have to keep our discipline,” said Thompson, whose team was swept by eventual Commissioner’s Cup champion San Miguel in the semifinals. 

“Kahit na-out kami ng maaga, kahit nagbabakasyon kami, kailangan pa rin namin isipin ‘yung next level namin sa career namin, ‘yung pagiging in shape pa rin. Kahit papano, nakakatakbo, nakaka-work out pa rin. 

“Very crucial sa amin ngayon ‘yun especially ngayon na thinking of the bigger picture na kami na everytime na ma-out kami sa conference, sa PBA, we know that there’s a Gilas coming para sa amin. Kailangan ready kami palagi,” the former league MVP said.

After getting hurt in Game Three of the playoffs against San Miguel, Malonzo had some time off to heal. An MRI showed that Malonzo’s knee did not have any structural damage, so it was ruled out that he had not torn his ACL. 

“It was something that I just have to take a couple of weeks off, just rest,” said Malonzo, who competed in the World Cup, but an injury also kept him out of the Asiad. 

“I had a couple of weeks off after losing in the playoffs. I had two weeks of rest. Since being at practice, it has just been a consistent grind to get into that level again. But I’ve been working, and I’m feeling a lot better now. I’m excited,” said Malonzo.

Oftana puts rest first

Oftana was one of the first people to take a holiday after Magnolia beat TNT in the Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals. He needed the break badly because he hasn’t had one since the Asian Games in September.

“As an athlete, ‘yun ang pinaka-importante, ‘yung pagpahinga. Paano mo ire-recover sarili mo after ‘yung mga bugbog na laro. ‘Yun ang pinaka-importante sa sarili natin, kung pano natin i-manage ‘yung health namin to have a healthy conference or healthy Gilas call-out.

“Ayaw nga namin malaglag ng maaga pero ‘yun ang nangyari, nakapagpahinga naman ng maayos,” said Oftana.

Also, Newsome got a break after a conference in which Meralco played in the EASL and lost to Phoenix in the semifinals. But even at the PBA meeting, Newsome said he learned how to work smart because of how busy it was and because he was waiting for a call-up to the Gilas team.

“It’s been a crazy schedule for us. It’s the first time for me to play in the EASL and the PBA. It’s two different styles of play. You really have to balance working hard and working smart. That was one thing that I really put in. The competitor in me always wants to work hard and get the extra reps. But you also know have to manage your rest as well.” 

“That is something that I’ve learned to manage as I got older, and that’s something that I’ve learned from the people that came before me as well, how to manage your body and take care of your body because if you have to be available, that’s the No. 1 thing. Making sure that you are healthy enough to be available to play,” said Newsome.

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