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12:14 AM April 27th, 2013

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By: Beth Celis, April 27th, 2013 12:14 AM

IT WAS mere curiosity that prompted me to touch base early this week with Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black and Rain or Shine team owner Raymond Yu.

That was Tuesday, the same day word got around that erstwhile Rain or Shine consultant Andy Jao had hooked up with the Tropang Texters.

I wanted to find out if he had been pirated by Norman. After all, Andy—a.k.a. Dr. J, who has become well known for his insight into the game of basketball—was under contract with the Elasto Painters when they won their first-ever PBA championship after seven years in the 2012 Governors’ Cup.

He was still with the Welcoat franchise when the team made a finals appearance  in the 2013 All-Filipino Conference.

* * *

Raymond was the first to answer my query even though he wasn’t in the best of spirits that morning, his team having lost to Ginebra San Miguel the night before.

It was their second straight loss to the Gin Kings, who beat them for a slot in the semifinal round.

Raymond said he got out of bed with a pounding headache caused by lack of sleep.

“Last night’s game with Ginebra was being played over and over again in my head. I couldn’t sleep,” Raymond said.

When he appeared in his Pasig office,  he had bags under his eyes.

“No one was talking. The place was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was mourning the team’s loss,” he said.

Raymond clarified that Andy was not  pirated by Talk ‘N Text.

“His contract with us expired after the  2013 All-Filipino,” he said.

* * *

Two days later, Norman called to answer my question. He said he was so absorbed, so preoccupied with the quarterfinals he forgot to reply.

Norman said he has always respected and admired Andy for his knowledge and feel of basketball.

“He can read the game, he can read the players, he can read the opposing coach and can anticipate what he will do next,” Norman explained. “He can see things that even us coaches normally don’t and that’s what makes him valuable.”

Andy has yet to be given an official designation, according to Norman, but his job is that of a consultant for the different MVP basketball teams. In addition to Talk ‘N Text, the teams are Smart Gilas, NLEX, Ateneo, San Beda and Meralco.

“Andy will have to be accessible to any MVP team that needs his services,” Norman said.

* * *

HOOPVINE: Ailing PBA legend Lim Eng Beng appeared at the Araneta Coliseum the other day and, according to a colleague, he looked like he was in the pink of health, although he was battling a late-stage liver cancer … Coaches and athletes in the ongoing Palarong Pambansa rue the fact that they lost not to their opponent but to diarrhea… According to reports, only four Blackwater cagers were spared by the thieves who ransacked the Elite dugout last Tuesday. In other words,   the bags of these lucky quartet were left intact by the burglars.

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