Mendoza: Knowing what a real pro is

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

MY CHIEF focus on the NBA (National Basketball Association) restart on Friday were the players. But, of course. How could I not? It was by instinct. Naturally.

How they moved.

How they ran, raced the floor.

How they attacked the hoops.

How they drove toward the basket.

How they navigated traffic at the shaded lane.

How they jumped for a two as well as a three.

How they guarded their men.

How they handled bumps here, elbows there.

Did anyone fumble a lot?

Did anyone commit more turnovers than the usual?

Did anyone ever lose his temper?

Of course, there was little rust among some players but, happily, generally speaking, everything went well on the first day of the NBA’s bounce back.

The results of the games were screaming testaments that nothing much was lost during the almost four months that the league left the scene due to the pandemic.

As the openers were thrillers themselves — a 106-104 Utah win over New Orleans on Rudy Gobert’s charities and a 103-101 Laker cliffhanger over the Clippers behind LeBron James’ follow-up of his own miss — point to a profound proof that the NBA players were not remiss in keeping themselves in shape during the forced “house arrest” imposed by Adam Silver, the no-nonsense NBA commissioner.

Which could only mean two things.

One, our NBA players, most of them anyways, are professionals to the hilt for, if not, they might, would have just taken the virus-induced lockdown as a chance to just relax, laze around and, perhaps, overeat and sleep to their hearts’ content.

Two, our NBA players, most of them anyways, really value their job so that they had obviously set out to do their own bit of training, seriously I must say, if only to keep fit during the months of inactivity that had slashed at least 107 games from the plague-mangled season of the world’s No. 1 basketball tournament.

Can we say the same of our players in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) — keeping in top form at all times, without being told, reminded, by their coaches while the PBA’s own restart remains undecided?

In times like these when one is a real pro or not.