TnT Katropa is eagerly looking forward to a fresh start to the new PBA season.
The franchise after all, went all out and restock its roster with players it deemed could help the team win another championship.
It finally landed a major big man in Poy Erram, sophomore guard Bobby Ray Parks has been signed to a new contract, Simon Enciso came aboard following a trade with Alaska, and rookie guard Kib Montalbo agreed to an 18-month deal with the team.
Everything else appeared coming together for the Katropa as they embark on their campaign for the Philippine Cup with hopes of finally ending a five-year title drought.
That was until the COVID-19 pandemic came.
Suddenly, all the things TnT did preparing during the off-season have to take the backseat.
"Maganda na sana yung ensayo namin papasok ng All-Filipino. Nakapag-kapaan na kami, kasi nung pumasok si RayRay (Parks) saglit lang kami nag-kasama (sa team)," said guard Roger Pogoy of Parks, who just joined the team for a conference during the season-ending Governors Cup.
"Excited na kaming makalaro kasi ang tagal na naming nag-e-ensayo. Sayang nga lang dumating itong COVID."
That the Katropa were all enthusiastic to begin the season was understandable.
The team is coming off a campaign that saw it made the playoffs of the three conferences at stake last year. The Katropa advanced to the semifinals of both the Commissioner's Cup and the Governors Cup, respectively, and actually finished runner-up to San Miguel Beer in the mid-season tournament.
Jumpstarting from where it left of, TnT added more pieces to its arsenal with the arrival of Erram, Enciso, Montalbo, sophomore guard JayJay Alejandro, back-up big man Lervyn Flores, rookie Val Chauca, and free agent Gryann Mendoza to complement regulars Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Pogoy, Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams, among others.
The reloading certainly gave the Katropa high hopes moving forward.
"Nadagdagan kami ng height (sa mga trades). Nandiyan na kasi si Poy, may panapat na kami sa big guys ng ibang teams," Rosario admitted.
"Tapos medyo (mga) bata pa kami, so yung tangke namin (puno pa)."
Then again until the PBA 45th season resumes, the waiting game stays for the Katropa.
Both Pogoy and Rosario appeared in the 20T podcast hosted by PBA anchors Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Marjon as TnT celebrates its 20th anniversary.(RG)