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Aces coach Jeffrey Cariaso 'very happy' about resumption of practice

"It was the best news in months."

Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso described how it felt when they heard the news that the Inter-Agency Task Force gave the resumption of practice for PBA teams the green light last July 3.

"First of all, I think when we heard (it), that was the best news in three months. So very happy tayo dun," Cariaso told ESPN5.com.

Since the National Capital Region was placed under lockdown no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, PBA teams have had to be creative in finding ways to keep their players in shape.

For the past months, Cariaso said Alaska trainers have been hands on with regard to the players' workout programs to make sure they will be ready in the event of a PBA restart.

"We were consistent with our online workouts. Our trainers on the team have been giving the players the program these last few months," he said. "It's really a program that will level up so that when we return to practice medyo kundisyon mga players."

If there's something positive out of this pandemic, it's that it gave Aces like Jeron Teng and Maverick Ahanmisi enough time to recuperate from nagging injuries.

"Yung mga injured, yung mga may nararamdaman they could use the time to heal. So far so good," he said.

Now that the PBA got the IATF nod, strict health protocols though will be put in place. Players will be divided in groups of four to be accompanied by a medical officer and a trainer. Also, players and team staff will take the swab test three days before practice resumes.

"I really think that steps need to be taken but they have to be slow steps," he said.

"No. 1 priority is make sure that all safety protocols are in place. Because the safety of the players and their families is of course the no. 1 priority," he said.

The PBA is eyeing the resumption of practice on July 22. Like everyone else, the Aces are excited to hop back on the court and have some semblance of normalcy.

"We're excited. But until everyone has checked the items on the list, di kami makaka-start. But we're working on it now," he said.