Jalen Hudson relishes chance to play with TNT anew in EASL
UTSUNOMIYA — No longer the primary import for TNT, Jalen Hudson proved himself still useful in the Tropang Giga’s loss on Wednesday night in the East Asia Super League Champions Week.
The American forward finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the 99-66 blowout at Nikkan Arena here, as if picking up where he left off in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) where he led the club to a 5-1 start.
“I just took the time and took the challenge,” he said when asked about his performance, which went down as the silver lining in TNT’s rather bland start in the five-day showcase pitting the best pro clubs across the region.
“I really like the guys on our team so I was just looking forward to getting a chance to play with them again. I was actually still in the Philippines when (coach Jojo Lastimosa) asked me to come out here and play,” he went on.
Hudson was efficient throughout his stint with the Tropang Giga in the Governors’ Cup, but the club—in a bid to go further—elected to bring in an even more explosive import in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who identifies as a “poor man’s LeBron” James.
He averaged 33.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists spiked with 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in his stay with TNT, his finest outings being against Converge, where he dropped 56 points, and versus Terrafirma where he scored 36 on a 12-for-15 shooting.
Despite being replaced midstream, Hudson said making the decision to rejoin TNT was an easy one.
“I love the game of basketball and I try to be a professional and uphold myself to a high standard,” he said.
“I’m a high-character guy, and so I didn’t want to leave them hanging so I decided to come out here and give my best, do whatever I can do to help the team,” he said.
Hudson may need to do even more as TNT tries to force a scenario where they could still contend for the third place.
The Tropang Giga play Korean Basketball League champion Seoul SK Knights this Friday.