It’s only been a few weeks into preseason training, but the Loyola Meralco Sparks already look as if they’re battle-ready and prepared for an assault on silverware for the upcoming United Football League campaign. Visibly fitter, faster, and more explosive, the club has been reaping the benefits of one its latest additions, former Olympian Konstantinos Boukis – affectionately known as “Kons” by the players and staff.
The former Greek sprinter, who represented his country in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has taken on the challenge of improving the Sparks’ strength and conditioning for the upcoming season. And while official competition is still two months away, the progress in the last few weeks has already been quite remarkable.
“I noticed a big challenge with the boys here. I want to make them stronger, faster, and better conditioned. This is what we’re focusing on. Everyone works very hard, they are improving day by day – impressively actually. The next two weeks, we continue the same plan. Our target is the matches at the end of January, to be ready to roll basically.”
After falling short in the major UFL competitions last season, the Loyola Meralco Sparks have wasted little time in building for the next campaign. Preseason training started well ahead of any of the club’s major rivals, with the team undergoing a spell of grueling double sessions to prepare the squad for what is expected to be another demanding season ahead.
While Kons admits the team needed quite a bit of improvement at the start of the training period, he’s been impressed with the attitude of the players with the new program he’s laid out.
“When I started, the level of fitness from the power and strength side, there were individuals that were okay. But they were missing a lot of power and explosiveness in general. So this is where I focused the load of training, and now I can see that they have already reached more than 50% of the goal. The guys are improving impressively. They just need to work on a few more details. We’ve put these details in a proper plan, and we’re starting to see the difference already.”
Although new to the team, and responsible for pushing players to the absolute limit, Kons has been accepted with open arms, with players visibly appreciative of not only the improvement he has brought to their general fitness, but also the warm demeanor he brings to every training session.
“Ever since I officially stopped as an athlete in 2001, I never stopped training and working out, and being involved with teams and helping people improve. This is my life and I’m more than happy to do it,” Boukis says with a big smile.