By Jerome Lagunzad
Reigning two-time titlist San Beda and last year’s runner-up Lyceum will both have an overseas training camp as they continue their buildup for the NCAA seniors basketball tournament that gets going in July.
The Red Lions took a long flight from Manila yesterday and are expected to be welcomed by team manager Jude Roque today once they reach the coastal city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they will conduct their annual two-week training camp, this time under the tutelage of renowned skills trainer Ganon Baker.
“We train every year in the (United) States during the summer break. Boss MVP (chief patron Manny V. Pangilinan) sends us here to learn from different trainers and also for the boys to see and experience new places,” Roque told Bulletin-Tempo in an online interview yesterday.
The Red Lions previously went to Lithuania in 2014 and spent the last two years in Las Vegas, Nevada to train at the premier Impact Training Center of long-time trainer Joe Abunassar.
“This year, we would like to try another highly respected skills trainer in Ganon Baker,” added Roque of the American coach who already spent some time honing the Red Lions’ skills in Manila.
Not to be outdone are the Pirates, who will send reigning league MVP CJ Perez and reliable forward MJ Ayaay for a two-week skills training at the Oregon-based Superhandles camp of Jon Hildebrandt.
“It’s a win-win situation for us,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson. “The experience and the learnings there will just make them the better basketball players. We are also preparing them for their (pro league) careers after LPU.”
Recently, the 6-foot-2 Perez claimed the tournament MVP while the versatile Ayaay played an instrumental role in the Zark’s Burgers’ improbable title run in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the expense of newcomer Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
Perez, a member of Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes’ “#23for23” training pool, is considered as one of the top picks while Ayaay continues to boost his stock for this year’s PBA rookie draft.