Declaring himself ‘no ails and pains’, sharpshooter Jeff Chan felt refreshed upon his return to active duty in the Gilas practice session for the Olympic qualifier on Monday night at the Moro Sports Complex in Quezon City.
“Sarap ng feeling ng nakabalik na rin, na-refresh ako sa mga offense and defense na gustong ipagawa niya (Coach Tab Baldwin),” said Chan to FOX Sports after healing from groin injury and ankle sprain.
Forced to sit in the sidelines for 3 consecutive Mondays-only practices due to injuries, Chan worked out in the shooting and dribbling drills but was advised not to join the scrimmage for precautionary measures in Gilas’ 4th training session.
“Alam ni coach kasi na galing pa akong sprain so nag-ingat lang siya na huwag muna tamaan,” shared Chan.
Chan’s return in practice uniform, however, did not add to warm bodies sweating it out for the national team as June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro were back in their civilian clothes due to minor injuries while Paul Lee is set to join the training next week.
With the number of healthy players always in question every week, Chan see it as a bump in their build-up for the Olympic qualifier in July.
“Medyo mabagal lang, maybe maraming namimiss, ‘di kami complete and yung time medyo bitin rin kasi after PBA, parang one month lang preparation,” said the Rain or Shine gunner.
“Pero positive ako kay coach at sa mga staff niya na magiging magandang team ito,” he quickly added.
Although key players were sitting out in the practice, Chan assured they are 100% focus on coach Tab’s instructions having experienced being sidelined himself.
“Gusto talaga niya focus kasi nga yung time in preparation bitin tayo, kaya gusto niya talaga yung utak namin (nasa practice), kahit nga may injury ka, nakaupo ka pero gusto niya attention,” shared Chan.
Once in full motion in practice, Chan is ready to shoot the lights out in the qualifer as he cited Gilas’ solid shooting to be a crucial part of their campaign against France and New Zealand in the elimination round.
“Isa talaga sa mga strength natin yun, yun dapat talaga maging consistent tayo cause pag nawalan tayo ng shooting, mahihirapan tayong mag-drive kasi mga 7-footer yung mga kalaban natin.” – By Jason Mercene
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