Tim Cone wary as Talk ‘N Text could go all-Filipino
That’s why when Talk ‘N Text import Omar Samhan went down with a knee injury, B-Meg coach Tim Cone was in no way assured that his job would be easier Wednesday night.
“If you were to choose a team to play all-Filipino, you certainly wouldn’t choose TNT, which has proven they can play better without imports,” said Cone, who will try to steer the Llamados to a victory against the Tropang Texters, who might play minus an import.
Gunning for the solo lead, TNT (2-0) will be handicapped by Samhan’s torn left ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) that puts the 6-foot-11 defense specialist out of order for the rest of the conference.
“Right now, playing all-Filipino against B-Meg is a very real possibility,” Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes said of tonight’s game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We’re not even sure we can beat them with an import, but our team is no stranger to seemingly hopeless situations.”
Samhan, named in the 2010 All-American list as an honorable mention while suiting up for St. Mary’s in the NCAA, crumpled on the floor after landing on the delinquent knee on a fastbreak situation late in the fourth quarter of the Texters’ 110-98 win over the Alaska Aces last Sunday.
Reyes doubts they could get a suitable replacement for Samhan at such a short notice.
Air21, which scored a breakthrough victory over Barako Bull that snapped a forgettable 0-14 record in the Philippine Cup, faces its first big test in Petron Blaze in the other game.
Marcus Douthit and trade acquisitions Mark Isip and Nelbert Omolon, who had solid contributions in that 97-88 win, are expected to lead the Express challenge against the bench depth of the Boosters (1-2).
For the Llamados (2-1), Denzel Bowles should be able to assert himself on the short-handed TNT frontline.
“It’s an opportunity for us, one we need to grab,” said Cone. “The pressure in these games is always strictly on the reinforced team, which is good for us since we’re still growing as a team. All the different challenges we face will help us in our growth.”