TNT rookies still feeling their way around PBA
Talk N’ Text generated a lot of talk in the off-season of the PBA after getting the top two picks in the Draft.
More than two weeks into the Philippine Cup, the Tropang Texters, though, are stuck with a less-than-impressive 1-1 card, with their only victory an unconvincing one against a foe they were supposed to ditch with ease.
Their loss, a 114-98 trashing at the hands of Alaska, exposed the truth behind coach Jong Uichico’s warning: No. 1 overall pick Moala Tautuaa and second choice Troy Rosario, who combined for a measly five points against the Aces, are “not yet PBA-ready.”
Tautuaa and Rosario—who played under Tab Baldwin for Gilas Pilipinas in a second place finish to Iran in the Jones Cup—are franchise-changers, and their acquisition gave the Texters a roster as deep and as talented as that of defending champion San Miguel Beer.
Uichico, who was one of Tab Baldwin’s assistants at Gilas, told reporters in Taiwan that the biggest problem was meshing Tautuaa and Rosario into the Talk ‘N Text system that won three straight Philippine Cups until 2012.
Uichico’s worry proved prophetic.
“It (the pieces) would just have to come together,” Baldwin told the Inquirer after a 101-97 victory over Mahindra. “But they will come together.”
Tautuaa and Rosario performed creditably for Uichico and Baldwin in the Jones Cup.
Rosario just missed making the final lineup of Gilas in the Fiba Asia, while Tautuaa would have stepped in for Andray Blatche as a naturalized player had the former Brooklyn Net in the NBA been out for one reason or another.
Also ailing Talk ‘N Text is the injury to Ranidel de Ocampo, who hurt his back in the weights room and could be out for 6 to 8 weeks.