The sheer amount of games played daily in the 2020 PBA season restart doesn't necessarily mean players can escape the boredom and weariness that will inevitably set in during down times inside the bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
So in packing for the Philippine Cup resumption -- which could last from one to two months, depending on how far their respective teams will go in the condensed elimination round -- this season's rookies made sure they brought some essentials.
For most of them, this means lugging their gaming consoles to Quest Hotel.
"I'll bring my PS4 to keep ourselves occupied," said Meralco's Aaron Black, drafted 18th overall last year, on Monday's episode of Sports Page. "I'm rooming with Bong Quinto and we both have PS4s, so I might bring a TV as well so we can play online at the same time."
"My PS4 for sure. I'm a gamer as well," top pick Roosevelt Adams chimed in. "[Plus] my laptop for some Netflix, a whole two-month supply of snacks -- I'm a snack person, so my luggage is all set up for that -- my headphones, obviously, and some clothes and some shoes."
TNT's Kib Montalbo will also bring his PS4, though it's admittedly not his first choice for gaming.
"I wish I could bring my PC because I'm a gamer. That's my ritual. Before games, the night before games, I usually play to calm myself and not think about it too much," he said.
Others, like Rain or Shine's Prince Rivero (seventh pick) Alaska's Jaycee Marcelino (17th) kept it light and practical.
"I just brought my personal belongings," Marcelino said in Filipino. "And my practice jerseys. Those are the first ones I put aside because when you're in the bubble, you can't really go anywhere so I didn't think much about casual clothes. I also brought only two shoes for leisure."
"I packed the toiletries first. I'm very particular about hygiene," Rivero shared.
Rivero, though, is apparently eyeing one of the golf courses available for all PBA delegates inside the bubble.
"I brought a golf bag," he said. "And I also brought a pair of Jordans, the one I can use for both the game and outside it. Of course, I brought training gear and game shoes, too."
As the Oct. 11 restart draws closer, the same rookies who have waited since March before finally being able to get the chance to make their own debuts can't help but feel giddy at the prospect of finally suiting up as professionals.
"For me personally, I'm very excited. It's been six months delayed already. This is a dream come true for me," said Black.
"Six months is already long enough for the wait, and I don't wanna be a rookie again next year," Rivero added. "I'm super excited, I'm super hyped up about this."
Said Adams: "Whoever says they're not excited, they're lying to you. I'm super excited to get back on the court with the guys again and get back on the same page."
But more than anything else, there's also a lot of enthusiasm on the part of these freshmen to provide some much-needed entertainment for a basketball-crazed country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Coming from the States, just seeing how basketball has affected everyone in the Philippines is just an amazing sight," said Adams. "Bringing back basketball in the country is just a great feeling for people to see again and it's the only thing that's going on right now besides the NBA."
"When it comes to the community and the country I think it's just the way to provide people with some entertainment. I know everybody's struggling right now, going through this pandemic. So just like what the NBA did for the States, I think we can do the same thing -- sort of distract people from what's going on, give them entertainment every day, and just bring some joy to the Filipino people," Black added.