ROOKIES Aaron Black of the Meralco Bolts, Rey Publico of the Alaska Aces and Will McAloney of the NLEX Road Warriors are eager to prove they belong in the big league.
Their PBA debut, though, will have to wait a little while as the country is under community quarantine, gripped in fear with the rest of the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At best, these newcomers could only stay safe, healthy and in tip-top condition.
Of the three, Black, son of PBA Hall of Famer and current Meralco coach Norman Black, is certainly the most excited.
That's because he will be playing under the watchful eyes of his old man, making them the first father and son tandem since Robert and Dodot Jaworski played together for Ginebra in the 1990s.
"Yup excited to get out there," said the younger Black, who considers the opportunity to be coached by his dad as a blessing.
"I am definitely excited and still am, but things like this happen and we just have to hope for the best. A lot of people are suffering right now, so I just pray that God puts his healing hand on the world and we all go back to normal as soon as this virus is gone.
"I'm definitely more concerned with those people a lot more than going back on the court and playing ball," Aaron said.
McAloney and Publico are just as excited to showcase their skills. But just the same, they too will have to wait until the global crisis is over.
Though undersize as a forward, NLEX coach Yeng Guiao has nothing but good words for McAloney, noting the rookie's desire to learn.
"In the MPBL, kaya niyang maglaro as malaki doon dahil hindi ganung kalalaki nga players. But in the PBA, I don't think he could do that," Guiao pointed out. "But he had shown his willingness to adjust. Sa mga previous scrimmages namin prior to the cancellation of the practices, he has developed his perimeter shot. Alam mo naman ako, sa team ko it's a must for the big guys to take the outside shot."
McAloney said he's super excited to play and find the suspension of the games disappointing.
"There's nothing we can do really (about the situation). Just like the rest, I'm just at home and try to stay in shape by doing some home workout," McAloney said.
For Publico, the break allows him to get stronger, especially since he's coming off an injury last year. But the 6-foot-4 frontliner from Letran, admits boredom is starting to set in.
"Sinusubukan nating maging productive lang everyday. Kahit andito lang sa bahay medyo nakakainip na hindi nakakapag-practice at laro. Pero kelangan natin lahat sumunod para di na tumagal yung ganito," Publico said.
"Medyo mahirap, kasi iba pa rin yung nakakapag-practice talaga pero wala tayo magagawa mas importante na maging safe muna tayong lahat." (RJ)