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MPL-PH coaches bare squad plans for Holy Week

TNC's coach Benthings (left) and AP.Bren's technical coach Trebor. Photo from Moonton

 by Drew Malihan

MAKATI - It is a norm for Filipinos to file their leaves, pack up their bags, and go off somewhere to rest and reflect during the Holy Week observation. Some prefer to stay at home and have quality time with their families, while others look for a quick getaway to reset themselves before returning to work the next Monday.

With the MPL Philippines Season 13 taking a quick holiday break, four coaches out of eight teams shared their thoughts on the squad's plans to spend the week.

Trading week-long rest for playoff chances

Minana EVOS's head coach Christian "Bitoy" Casten bared that the squad will not take a break and keep their gears running to extend their season.

Coach Bitoy of Minana EVOS. Photo from Moonton

"This coming Holy Week, hindi talaga kami magde-day-off, (This coming Holy Week, we won't take any day-offs)" Bitoy stated when asked during the Week 2 Day 3 post-match press conference after a 0-2 defeat against defending champions AP.Bren.

"Kumbaga, magpapraktis talaga kami makapasok lang sa playoffs (That is, we will practice hard just to make the playoffs)," he added.

The Neon Tigers missed the postseason for last three straight MPL-PH iterations, last appearing in Season 9 during their Nexplay EVOS days, and now they are in 5th place after Week 2, with a 1-3 series win-loss record.

No holidays for the rising phoenix

TNC Pro Team's coach Ben "Benthings" Maglaque echoed Bitoy's statement.

"Sa majority ng team,  yung Holy Week, wala lang siya. Walang holiday sa pro, sa MPL. [For the majority of the team, Holy Week is like any other week. There are no holidays if you are a pro (player), if you are in MPL]," Benthings stated after their 0-2 loss versus ECHO.

He added, "kung nag-holiday yung makakalaban namin, ite-take advantage na namin kasi batak kami sa praktis. (If our future opponents will take a holiday break, we'll take advantage of it as we are more honed by practice)."

But Benthings, a former player himself, knows they can't just go and grind.

"Siguro, day off lang kami ng one day tapos back to praktis na kami. Pahinga lang, reset. (Maybe, we'll take one day off then we'll go back for practice. Just to rest and reset).

Double the effort when back

ECHO's coach Tictac (standing) during the draft. Photo from Moonton

ECHO's coach Harold "Tictac" Reyes shared a different thought from the two gaffers.

"Siguro ngayon yung holy week vacation is, talagang pahinga muna kami (For now, we'll take a break during the holiday vacation)" the head Orca said. "After nun, back to game na rin (Then after that, we'll be back in the game)."

However, the M-Series winning coach knew the squad had to make bigger preparations despite currently sitting at a comfortable 4-0 record with a full 12 points in the bag.

"Siguro medyo doble (ang paghahanda) lalo na at bigatin yung week na'yun e. (AP)Bren and Blacklist. (International), [Maybe we'll have double the preparation as next week will be a heavy one. (AP)Bren and Blacklist (International)," Tictac added.

Much-needed rest for the world-traveled champs

For former ECHO and current AP.Bren's technical coach Robert "Trebor" Sanchez, the holiday break was a reward for the Bees' start of the season.

"May ano na kami sa mga players, kami ni coach Ducky Pag naka-2-0 kami ngayong week, magpa-five-days day off kami. Eh natupad. (We have a deal between the players and coach Ducky. If we are 2-0 for this week, we'll have a five-day off. And it happened)," Trebor stated after the victory versus Minana EVOS.

"Para sa player din talaga itong Holy Week. (Holy Week is for the players eventually)," he added.

The Bees did not have much break time since going to Kazan, Russia and winning the Games of the Future tournament last March 2, with the MPL Philippines starting 13 days later.

Follow him on X: @drew_corner

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