Texters, Aces out to arrest alarming skid
May 20, 2017
Fresh from their stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the SEABA Championship, TNT KaTropa stalwarts Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario will show up in Legazpi City for their Petron Blaze Saturday faceoff with Alaska Milk. “They had shown up in practice, not necessarily to practice, while they were with Gilas. So most probably they will play,” said TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio ahead of their match with Alaska set at 5 p.m. at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation. “Jayson came in practice to see Joshua Smith,” Villavicencio added, referring to the new import they’re introducing in the Legazpi tiff. The Texters are going all out against the Aces as they’re determined to stay in the battle for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Aces, on the other hand, are out to finally formalize a quarterfinal entry after thee failed tries. TNT, at 6-3, is running fifth behind Star (7-2), Meralco (7-2), San Miguel (5-1 while playing at posting time) and Ginebra (5-1). Alaska is right behind TNT at 4-3. The Aces dropped their last three games against Meralco, Phoenix and Ginebra after a 4-0 start in the tourney with wins over GlobalPort, Blackwater, Mahindra and Rain or Shine. The Texters have also taken a slide in losing two of their last three outings. They hope to regain lost ground with the help of Smith, a huge player who played college ball with the UCLA and Georgetown. Smith is a 300-pounder measured at 6-foot-9 9/16 in his official height measurement at the PBA office Tuesday. “He’s our first choice. We’re not able to sign him right away as he had to finish his obligation with his NBA D-League team,” said Villavicencio. A McDonald’s All-American in 2010 and a PAC-10 All-Freshman awardee in 2011, Smith can well be a good matchup with the wide, bull-strong imports of Meralco (Alex Stepheson) and Star (Ricardo Ratliffe). “Josh Smith is a big player who can run,” said Villavicencio. Smith, 24, is TNT’s third import in the tourney after Lou Amundson and Donte Greene. The Texters went 1-1 with Amundson and 5-2 with Greene.