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Weary Kings light up Gilas practice

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel players infused energy and excitement when they attended the weekly practice of Gilas Pilipinas on Monday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo were in attendance barely 24 hours after facing Meralco in a grueling battle in the Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.

Bolts guard Chris Newsome also showed up but opted to join Kings import Justin Brownlee at the sidelines to rest his injured calf.

But the spotlight was focused on the Kings.

After sitting out the first session two weeks ago, Thompson is back in harness while Aguilar and Malonzo were eager to bring the same energetic performance they had against Meralco to Gilas practice.

Malonzo, for one, showed up despite nursing a banged-up body that saw him moving from NorthPort to Ginebra in a blockbuster deal that involved Jeff Chan, Arvin Tolentino, Prince Caperal and Kent Salado.

“My body is sore – that’s why I have ice packs on my legs,” said Malonzo, who was part of the squad that saw action in the fourth window last month.

“But for sure, as much as we can, we want to be all part of this. It’s always a process learning both systems, but you’ll never know because you want to be ready when these games come as well.”

Aguilar agrees, saying that playing for the country will be beneficial not only to the program but for his mother club in the PBA as well.

“This is also a good opportunity to fast track our condition during the PBA season,” Aguilar said.

“Our next game will be on Sunday, so we have nearly a week to manage our rest and recovery.”

Gilas coach Chot Reyes was very much pleased with the turnout as a total of 16 players showed up.

Save for Newsome and Brownlee, other players who took part in the weekly workout were six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer, TNT stars Roger Pogoy, JP Erram and the newest Tropang Giga Calvin Oftana, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, college stars Carl Tamayo of University of the Philippines, Kevin Quiambao of De La Salle University, LeBron Lopez and naturalized player Angelo Kouame of Ateneo de Manila University and Will Navarro.

“I expected the energy from the college players, but I’m more impressed with the energy shown by the PBA players, the more experienced players,” Reyes said.

“The Ginebra players just played a game last night (Sunday), while others had their day practice on Monday.”

“Overall, it’s a good one hour of workout. We don’t want to overextend them.”

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