First Test of the System

On: 08 October 2008

SLR Players During the Opening

The defending Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup champion, Sta. Lucia Realtors, will find out today if there is a need to tinker further with the system that they adopted last year after going through a rigorous training under conditioning coach Kevin Barbosa in the US. A follow-up training with Barbosa was conducted again this October to ensure that everyone are still in-sync with the system.

The Realtors are scheduled to meet the Fiesta Cup champion, Ginebra Gin Kings, in the main game at 7:30 p.m. today, right after Purefoods and Red Bull battle in the curtain raiser at 5 p.m. at Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

“We learned more techniques under coach Kevin which we are actually applying now in our practices,”said Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez. he also added added that clashing with Ginebra in its first game in the season-opening tournament is a good test for the Realtors.

There were no major player movement for the Realtors in the off-season as they opted to maintain the same crew. Only rookie draftee Kelvin Gregorio (10TH pick overall) the only addition to the Robles franchise. Second round draft pick, Chito Jaime, was placed in the reserved list and could be tapped immediately in case one of the regular players do not perform up to par.

Fernandez consider that his team has gained maturity rather than think of his players getting old after one season.

“I’m confident with our veteran players that they can still deliver. They showed that during our US training,” said Fernandez.

Despite some doubts on the ability of the veterans to keep paced with the younglings, Fernandez believed SLR can still depend on old hands Dennis Espino, Paolo Mendoza and Marlou Aquino who celebrated his 36th birthday last 07 October. He also acknowledged that MVP Kelly Williams, Rookie of the Year Ryan Reyes and the ever-improving Joseph Yeo are slowly taking the leadership helm from their seniors.

The Realtors are looking to become the first team in 24 years and third in league history to win back-to-back All-Filipino titles.

The now defunct Great Taste did the trick in 1984 and 1985. Incidentally, the Realtors entered the league by acquiring the Gokongwei franchise in 1992. Crispa is the only other team to score back-to-back All-Filipino triumphs.

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