MANILA, Philippines – The B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados are already gearing up for the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup, especially after their shocking upset in the recently concluded Philippine Cup.
The Llamados were the top-seeds after the elimination round but fell to the upstart Powerade Tigers in three games in the first round of the play-offs.
Assistant coach Koy Banal said the team is using the extended off-season to prepare for the upcoming conference and familiarize themselves with their new teammates.
“Of course, (head coach) Tim Cone is very particular dun sa preparation namin with regards to the condition of the body,” he said. “Actually, we are practicing twice a day.”
Banal admitted that the trade of Kerby Raymundo, one of their star players, to Ginebra will have an effect on the team.
“Malaking kawalan si Kerby sa koponan ng B-Meg, pero meron namang players ang aming koponan na pwedeng pumuno sa mga maiko-contribute n’ya,” he said.
Banal noted that JC Intal – one of the players B-Meg received in exchange for Raymundo – will be able to contribute right away, along with the team’s import, Denzel Moles.
But both players will still have to learn the team’s triangle offense, something Banal said will be addressed.
Intal, for his part, said he was happy to be traded to the Llamados.
“Maganda rin naman ang team na nilipatan ko,” he said. “Kilala natin ang B-Meg at Purefoods sa mga winning traditions nila.”
“I’m very blessed to play for Coach Tim alongside James Yap and Marc Pingris. I’m happy pa rin na sa kanila ako napunta,” Intal added.
The Llamados are hoping to get back to the Finals this conference after falling short of their goal in the Philippine Cup. -- Report from Ernie Manio, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog