Bataan Risers head coach Jojo Lastimosa (first from left) is responsible for including yoga as part of the MPBL team’s training regimen. 
MPBL's Bataan Risers turn to yoga
Rick Olivares ( - October 17, 2018 - 2:44pm

MANILA, Philippine – The Bataan Risers practicing yoga?

Is it inconceivable that tall and athletic men would practice yoga? Not really. Yoga has long been incorporated in training regimens by individual athletes or even entire teams as it greatly helps improve strength, speed and power, flexibility and mobility, cardiovascular fitness and energy.

Perhaps, the earliest known proponent of this was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who credits yoga to his longevity in the NBA — a total of 20 seasons.

Other athletes include Shaquille O’Neal, the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis, legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Giants, the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team, and many others. 

Risers head coach Jojo Lastimosa is responsible for including yoga as part of the MPBL team’s training regimen. 

“I tried yoga back in the day when I was playing for Alaska,” revealed Lastimosa. “But I only did it once.”

“I know some teams practice it and some elite athletes swore that it made their bodies better. My main reason for introducing it to the Bataan Risers other than to activate their muscles is to vary my routine. Weeks go by and having ball practices all the time gets to be a little boring so this is a changeup that keeps the guys fresh and ready.”

How did the Risers react to this training method?

“Actually, it is my first time to try yoga,” admitted Risers point guard Pamboy Raymundo. “I thought it was easy but mahirap pala. I like it because it will teach you how to be more focused and the relaxing feeling afterwards is great.”

Added backcourt mate Byron Villarias, “Para sa akin? Malaking tulong sa akin at sigurado rin sa teammates ko para maiwasan ang injury because it strengthens your muscles and improves your flexibility. Okay itong addition sa training namin. Yun ang maganda… you learn something every day and dito sa Bataan Risers.”

For veteran “Mr. Pure Energy” Gary David, who is in his 14th season as a professional basketball player, yoga is a welcome addition. “Big help sa akin yung yoga kasi nase-stretch yung katawan ko at nakakatulong sa correct method of breathing. Nakakatanggal din ng tightness sa katawan. Sa tagal ko na nagbaba-basketbol, importante yung pagaalaga ng katawan at kalusugan.So, welcome yung yoga sa training namin sa Bataan. At dahil sabay sabay kami rito ng teammates ko, bonding moment ito. Tiyak na makakatulong sa amin career at paghabol ng championship.”

The 9-1 Bataan Risers will defend their home court of the People’s Center in Bataan against the Bulacan Kuyas in MPBL Datu Cup action at 9 p.m. on October 23.

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