MANILA, Philippines -- After winning Game 2 of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL south division finals, Davao Occidental-Cocolife felt that momentum was on its side.
Through the heroics of veterans Billy Ray Robles and Bonbon Custodio, the reigning southern division champions claimed an 81-76 win at the expense of No. 3 Basilan-Jumbo Plastic last March 11, sending the series to a rubber match.
Game 3 was scheduled for March 14, and the Tigers were eager to finish off the Steel.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic put not just the entire sporting landscape, but virtually the whole world to a halt. The MPBL was not spared, as it decided to suspend the division finals indefinitely.
"We were looking forward to Game 3. We were actually on our way to practice when we heard the news that there might be a lockdown and we already assumed that the MPBL will be canceling Game 3," recalled Davao Occidental head coach Don Dulay.
With the entirety of Luzon placed under enhanced community quarantine, Dulay knew that a long break will break their momentum.
Instead of pressuring his players to work out and keep in shape, however, Dulay is stepping back, aware that what is happening in the world is bigger than basketball.
He thus gave his wards one important reminder before sending them home.
"The first thing we thought was going home to be with our families. With all that is happening around the world, I think basketball is not so important right now," he said.
"The only positive thing I can think of is we get to spend a lot more time with our families. Also, the players will have a lot of rest especially for the ones who were injured. I reminded them to make sure they were safe along with their families."
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