With the league’s top scorer Terrence Romeo on board, TNT KaTropa is ready to challenge defending champion San Miguel Beer in the upcoming Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Commissioner’s Cup that unfolds on April 22.
TNT, with the 6’8 import Joshua Smith fought San Miguel Beer last year in the best-of-seven finals. But the Beermen, headed by import Charles Rhodes crushed the KaTropa in six games to bag their first Commissioner’s Cup crown in 17 years.
TNT coach Nash Racela said beating powerhouse San Miguel Beer is a tougher task now that the Beermen have acquired the 6’7 Christian Standhardinger in addition to the 6’8 import Troy Gillenwater.
“That is always been the goal (beat San Miguel Beer). All the teams are looking to San Miguel Beer and looking for ways to improve. Imagine their old line-up without Standhardinger is already tough and all the more now that Standhardinger is coming in.”
TNT has strengthened its backcourt capability with the addition of Romeo and center Yousef Taha, who were both acquired recently via trade with GlobalPort. Batang Pier got center Moala Tautuaa along with future draft picks in return.
“But as long as we improve and give ourselves a better chance of competing, then we will see,” added Racela, who also acquired Don Trollano and big man Jessie Saitanan, as replacements for the injured Kelly Williams.
The former Far Eastern University (FEU) guard Romeo who is averaging 23.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 27 games last season before he missed the entire Philippine Cup elimination games because of a knee injury.
He will be reunited with his former FEU coach Racela as well as former teammates Roger Pogoy and RR Garcia.
Racela said the biggest challenge now is make the newly signed and the veteran players like Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Ryan Reyes work together as a unit.
“We are always looking forward to a winning conference. We know that the competition has been increasing lately and the competition is too tight. But again we always used to be competitive and have a winning conference,” said Racela.
TNT will also be reinforced by the 6’10 Jeremy Tyler this coming conference.
Tyler, according to Racela, can play in multiple positions and is capable of both offense and defense.